Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-072: Unchecked Buffer in Windows Shell Could Enable System Compromise (Q329390)

2002-12-19T00:00:00
ID SECURITYVULNS:DOC:3895
Type securityvulns
Reporter Securityvulns
Modified 2002-12-19T00:00:00

Description

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Title: Unchecked Buffer in Windows Shell Could Enable System Compromise (329390) Date: 18 December 2002 Software: Microsoft Windows XP Impact: Run code of an attacker's choice Max Risk: Critical Bulletin: MS02-072

Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletins at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-072.asp http://www.microsoft.com/security/security_bulletins/ms02-072.asp


Issue:

The Windows Shell is responsible for providing the basic framework of the Windows user interface experience. It is most familiar to users as the Windows Desktop, but also provides a variety of other functions to help define the user's computing session, including organizing files and folders, and providing the means to start applications.

An unchecked buffer exists in one of the functions used by the Windows Shell to extract custom attribute information from audio files. A security vulnerability results because it is possible for a malicious user to mount a buffer overrun attack and attempt to exploit this flaw.

An attacker could seek to exploit this vulnerability by creating an .MP3 or .WMA file that contained a corrupt custom attribute and then host it on a website, on a network share, or send it via an HTML email. If a user were to hover his or her mouse pointer over the icon for the file (either on a web page or on the local disk), or open the shared folder where the file was stored, the vulnerable code would be invoked. An HTML email could cause the vulnerable code to be invoked when a user opened or previewed the email. A successful attack could have the effect of either causing the Windows Shell to fail, or causing an attacker's code to run on the user's computer in the security context of the user.

Mitigating Factors:

  • The vulnerability lies in the Windows Shell, rather than Windows Media Player. As a result, playing an audio file with Windows Media Player would not pose any additional risk.

  • Outlook 98 and 2000 (after installing the Outlook Email Security Update),Outlook 2002, and Outlook Express 6 all open HTML mail in the Restricted Sites Zone. Customers who are using these products and who have also installed Windows XP Service Pack 1 or any recent security patch for Internet Explorer that disables frames in the Restricted Sites zone would not be at risk from automated email-borne attacks. However, these customers could still be attacked if they choose to click on a hyperlink in a malicious HTML email.

  • In the case where an attacker's code was executed, the code would run in the security context of the user. As a result, any limitations on the user's ability would also restrict the actions that an attacker's code could take.

Risk Rating:

  • Windows XP: Critical

Patch Availability:

  • A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the Security Bulletin at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms02-072.asp for information on obtaining this patch.

Acknowledgment:

  • Foundstone Research Labs (http://www.foundstone.com)

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