Microsoft Excel Formula Parsing Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

2009-11-10T00:00:00
ID SMNTC-36908
Type symantec
Reporter Symantec Security Response
Modified 2009-11-10T00:00:00

Description

Description

Microsoft Excel is prone to a remote code-execution vulnerability. Attackers can exploit this issue by enticing victims into opening a specially crafted Excel ('.xls') file. Successful exploits can allow attackers to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user running the application.

Technologies Affected

  • 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 2003 SP3
  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Excel 2007 SP1
  • Microsoft Excel 2007 SP2
  • Microsoft Excel Viewer 2003
  • Microsoft Excel Viewer 2003 SP3
  • Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack 2007 SP1
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack 2007 SP2
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003 SP3
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer SP1
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer SP2
  • Microsoft Open XML File Format Converter for Mac

Recommendations

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.

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.

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.

Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.
Web users should be cautious about following links to sites that are provided by unfamiliar or suspicious sources. Filtering HTML from emails may help remove a possible vector for transmitting malicious links to users.

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.

The vendor has released an advisory and updates. Please see the references for details.