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Title: Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer (Q328970)
Date: 20 November 2002
Software: Internet Explorer
Impact: Execute commands on a user's system
Max Risk: Important
Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletins at:
This is a cumulative patch that includes the functionality of all
previously released patches for IE 5.01, 5.5 and 6.0. In addition,
it eliminates the following six newly discovered vulnerabilities:
- A buffer overrun vulnerability that occurs because Internet
Explorer does not correctly check the parameters of a PNG graphics
file when it is opened. To the best of Microsoft's knowledge, this
vulnerability could only be used to cause Internet Explorer to
fail. The effect of exploiting the vulnerability against Internet
Explorer would be relatively minor - the user would only need to
restart the browser to restore normal operation. However, a number
of other Microsoft products - notably, most Microsoft Office
products and Microsoft Index Server - rely on Internet Explorer to
render PNG files, and exploiting the vulnerability against such an
application would cause them to fail as well. Because of this,
Microsoft recommends that customers install this patch regardless
of whether they are using Internet Explorer as their primary web
- An information disclosure vulnerability related to the way that
Internet Explorer handles encoded characters in a URL. This
vulnerability could allow an attacker to craft a URL containing
some encoded characters that would redirect a user to a second web
site. If a user followed the URL, the attacker would be able to
piggy-back the user's access to the second website. This could
allow the attacker to access any information the user shared with
the second web site.
- A vulnerability that occurs because under certain circumstances
Internet Explorer does not correctly check the component that the
OBJECT tag calls. This could allow an attacker to obtain the name
of the Temporary Internet Files folder on the user's local machine.
The vulnerability would not allow an attacker to read or modify
any files on the user's local system, since the Temporary Internet
Files folder resides in the Internet security zone. Knowledge of
the name of the Temporary Internet Files folder could allow an
attacker to identify the username of the logged-on user and read
other information in the Temporary Internet Files folder such as
- Three vulnerabilities that although having differing root causes,
have the same net effects. All three vulnerabilities result
because of incomplete security checks being carried out when using
particular programming techniques in web pages, and would have the
effect of allowing one website to access information in another
domain, including the user's local system. This could enable the
web site operator to read, but not change, any file on the user's
local computer that could be viewed in a browser window. In
addition, this could also enable an attacker to invoke an
executable that was already present on the local system.
In addition, the patch sets the Kill Bit on a legacy DirectX
ActiveX control which has been retired but which has a security
vulnerability. This has been done to ensure that the vulnerable
control cannot be reintroduced onto users' systems and ensures
that users who already have the control on their system are
protected. This is discussed further in Microsoft Knowledge Base
The patch also makes a further refinement to cross domain
verification check that was first introduced in Internet Explorer
Service Pack 1.
With the exception of the Malformed PNG Image File Failure, there
are common mitigating factors across all of the vulnerabilities:
- The attacker would have to host a web site that contained a web
page used to exploit the particular vulnerability.
- The attacker would have no way to force users to visit the site.
Instead, the attacker would need to lure them there, typically by
getting them to click on a link that would take them to the
- By default, Outlook Express 6.0 and Outlook 2002 open HTML mails
in the Restricted Sites Zone. In addition, Outlook 98 and 2000
open HTML mails in the Restricted Sites Zone if the Outlook Email
Security Update has been installed. Customers who use any of these
products would be at no risk from an e-mail borne attack that
attempted to exploit these vulnerabilities.
In addition to there are a number of individual mitigating factors:
Malformed PNG Image File Failure
- Internet Explorer and other affected applications such as
Microsoft Office and Microsoft Index Server could be successfully
restarted after the failure.
- Microsoft has not identified a method by which this buffer
overrun can be used to execute code of the attacker's choice on
the user's system.
- This vulnerability is not present in Internet Explorer 6 Service
Encoded Characters Information Disclosure
- The vulnerability would not enable an attacker to read, modify
or execute any files on the local system.
Temporary Internet Files folder Name Reading
- An attacker could not use this vulnerability to read, delete or
modify any files on the user's local system other than information
contained in the Temporary Internet Files folder.
- An attacker could only exploit this vulnerability by having a
user visit a malicious web site and then follow a malformed link
on this malicious web site to a second web site that the user
- This vulnerability is not present in Internet Explorer 6 Service
Frames Cross Site Scripting, Cross Domain Verification via Cached
Methods & Improper Cross Domain Security Validation with Frames
- The vulnerabilities would only allow an attacker to read files
on the user's local system that can be rendered in a browser
window, such as image files, HTML files and text files.
- The vulnerabilities would not provide any way for an attacker to
put a program of their choice onto another user's system.
- An attacker would need to know the name and location of any file
on the system to successfully invoke it.
- The vulnerabilities could only be used to view or invoke local
executables. It could not be used to create, delete, or modify
arbitrary or malicious files.
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
Security Bulletin at
for information on obtaining this patch.
- Microsoft thanks eEye Digital Security for reporting the
malformed PNG issue to us and working with us to protect customers.
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE IS
PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS
ALL WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE
FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN
IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE
EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR
INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.
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