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  3. Microsoft Excel Data Validation Record Heap Memory Corruption Vulnerability

Microsoft Excel Data Validation Record Heap Memory Corruption Vulnerability

Risk

High

Date Discovered

March 11, 2008

Description

Microsoft Excel is prone to a heap memory-corruption vulnerability. Attackers may exploit this issue by enticing victims into opening a maliciously crafted Excel file ('.xls'). Successful exploits may allow attackers to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user running the application. This may facilitate a compromise of vulnerable computers.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Excel 2000
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 SP2
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 SP3
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 SR1
  • Microsoft Excel 2002
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 SP1
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 SP2
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 SP3
  • Microsoft Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Excel 2003 SP1
  • Microsoft Excel 2003 SP2
  • Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Excel Compatibility Pack
  • Microsoft Excel Viewer 2003
  • Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac

Recommendations

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.

Deploy NIDS to monitor network traffic for signs of suspicious or anomalous activity. This may help detect malicious actions that an attacker may take after successfully exploiting vulnerabilities in applications. Review all applicable logs regularly.

Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.

To reduce the impact of latent vulnerabilities, always run nonadministrative software as an unprivileged user with minimal access rights.

Do not accept or execute files from untrusted or unknown sources.

To reduce the likelihood of successful exploits, never handle files that originate from unfamiliar or untrusted sources.

Implement multiple redundant layers of security.

Since this issue may be leveraged to execute code, we recommend memory-protection schemes, such as nonexecutable stack/heap configurations and randomly mapped memory segments. This tactic may complicate exploits of memory-corruption vulnerabilities.
Microsoft released fixes and an advisory to address this issue. Please see the references for more information.

Credits

Greg MacManus of iDefense Labs is credited with the discovery of this vulnerability.
Copyright © Symantec Corporation.
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Security Response. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.

Disclaimer
The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.
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