Microsoft Office fails to properly parse malformed strings

ID VU:234900
Type cert
Reporter CERT
Modified 2006-11-17T00:00:00



A vulnerability in the way Microsoft Office parses files with malformed strings may lead to execution of arbitrary code.


Microsoft Office contains a vulnerability that could be exploited when parsing specially crafted strings. According to Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-062:

When Office opens a specially crafted file and parses a malformed string, it may corrupt system memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code.
This vulnerability affects Microsoft Office for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.


A remote, unauthenticated attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the affected user or cause a denial-of-service condition.


Microsoft has released an update to address this issue. See Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-062 for more details.

Do not open untrusted Microsoft Office documents

Do not open unfamiliar or unexpected Microsoft Office documents, particularly those hosted on web sites or delivered as email attachments. Please see Cyber Security Tip ST04-010.

Disable automatic opening of Microsoft Office documents

By default, Microsoft Office 97 and Microsoft Office 2000 will configure Internet Explorer to automatically open Microsoft Office documents. This feature can be disabled by using the Office Document Open Confirmation Tool. Mozilla Firefox users should disable automatic opening of files, as specified in the Securing Your Web Browser document.

Do not rely on file name extension filtering

In most cases, Windows will call a Microsoft Office application to open a document even if the document has an unknown file extension. Filtering for common extensions (e.g., .ppt, .xls, and .doc) will not detect all Microsoft Office documents. Additionally, a Microsoft Office file with no file extension will also open with a Microsoft Office application.

Systems Affected

Vendor| Status| Date Notified| Date Updated
Microsoft Corporation| | -| 11 Oct 2006
If you are a vendor and your product is affected, let us know.

CVSS Metrics

Group | Score | Vector
Base | N/A | N/A
Temporal | N/A | N/A
Environmental | N/A | N/A


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This vulnerability was reported in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-062 . Microsoft credits Dejun Meng of Fortinet Inc. for reporting this issue.

This document was written by Chris Taschner.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CVE-2006-3434
  • Date Public: 10 Oct 2006
  • Date First Published: 11 Oct 2006
  • Date Last Updated: 17 Nov 2006
  • Severity Metric: 19.24
  • Document Revision: 7