Microsoft Message Queuing Service RPC Query Heap Corruption Vulnerability



Date Discovered

October 14, 2008


The Microsoft Message Queuing service (MSMQ) is prone to a remote heap-corruption vulnerability. An attacker can exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM-level privileges, facilitating the complete compromise of an affected computer. Failed exploit attempts will result in a denial-of-service condition. This issue is exploitable remotely on Windows 2000 systems only. The MSMQ service is not installed or enabled by default. For a computer to be exploited, an administrator must have explicitly installed and enabled the service.

Technologies Affected

  • HP Storage Management Appliance 2.1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP4
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP4


Block external access at the network boundary, unless external parties require service.
If global access isn't needed, filter access to the affected computer at the network boundary. Restricting access to only trusted computers and networks might greatly reduce the likelihood of a successful exploit.

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.
Deploy NIDS to monitor network traffic for signs of anomalous or suspicious activity. This includes but is not limited to requests that include NOP sleds and unexplained incoming and outgoing traffic. This may indicate exploit attempts or activity that results from a successful exploit.

Implement multiple redundant layers of security.
Various memory-protection schemes (such as nonexecutable and randomly mapped memory segments) may hinder an attacker's ability to exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code.

Disable any services that are not needed.
Disable the MSMQ component if it is present and not needed on the computer.

Microsoft released an update and an advisory to address this issue. Please see the references for more information.



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