Microsoft Word does not check for macros contained in linked template file when opening RTF document

ID VU:345576
Type cert
Reporter CERT
Modified 2002-09-27T00:00:00



There is a vulnerability caused by a failure to detect macros embedded in templates used by rich text format documents opened in Microsoft Word. This vulnerability may allow the author of a malicious document to execute arbitrary commands as the user who opens the document.


Microsoft Word versions including Word 2000, Word 97, Word 98J, Word 98 for Macintosh and Word 2001 for Macintosh have a vulnerability involving the detection of macros. Macros embedded in templates referenced by rich text format documents are not properly detected by Microsoft Word, even though they will execute when the document is opened. This vulnerability was originally believed not to affect Microsoft Word 2002, but VU#295867 describes a more general form of this vulnerability that affects that version as well.

In Office 2000 and later, there are three possible settings for the macro security. The macro executes even if the user's macro security setting is "High", which would normally prevent execution. If the user's macro security setting is "Medium", the user will fail to receive a warning dialog as expected before the macro executes. The "Low" macro security setting is not recommended, and would normally allow the execution of macros. In earlier versions of Office, the security settings may differ.


The author of a malicious document may be able to execute aribtrary commands as the user who opens the document.


Apply a Patch

Microsoft has published patches correcting this vulnerability. The patches are listed in their advisory at:


This vulnerability is closely related to VU#295867, which is described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-034:


VU#295867 involves the failure to detect macros embedded in Word documents in general. Users that are vulnerable to this problem may wish to review the newer bulletin and apply the patches referenced there.

Systems Affected

Vendor| Status| Date Notified| Date Updated
Microsoft Corporation| | -| 26 Sep 2002
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 document was written Cory F. Cohen.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CAN-2001-0240
  • Date Public: 21 May 2001
  • Date First Published: 27 Sep 2002
  • Date Last Updated: 27 Sep 2002
  • Severity Metric: 10.24
  • Document Revision: 15