Vulnerability in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution

Microsoft released a security advisory today, Microsoft Security Advisory (929433), a user who opens a malicious document are the only ones who are affected, the preview pane does not trigger this attack.

An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less affected than users who operate with administrative user rights.

In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains a Word file that is used to attempt to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker’s site.

The vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through e-mail. For an attack to be successful a user must open an attachment that is sent in an e-mail message.

Users who have installed and are using the Office Document Open Confirmation Tool for Office 2000 will be prompted with Open, Save, or Cancel before opening a document. Source: Microsoft

The workaround? Don’t open any untrusted documents. No word from Microsoft yet on whether the patch will be included in next weeks patch Tuesday.