The following cyber advisory was issued by the New York State Office of Information Technology Services and is intended for State government entities. The information may or may not be applicable to the general public and, accordingly, the State does not warrant its use for any specific purposes.

ITS ADVISORY NUMBER:
2013-058

DATE(S) ISSUED:
6/11/2013

SUBJECT:
Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Could Allow Remote Code Execution (MS13-051)

OVERVIEW:

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Office 2003, which is Microsoft's business application suite, that could allow remote code execution. Exploitation may occur if a user opens a specially crafted Office file using an affected version of Microsoft Office. Successful exploitation could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the logged on user. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

It should be noted that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

SYSTEMS AFFECTED:

  • Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011

RISK:
Government:

  • Large and medium government entities: High
  • Small government entities: High

Businesses:

  • Large and medium business entities: High
  • Small business entities: High

Home users: High

DESCRIPTION:
A vulnerability exists in the way that Microsoft Office processes specially crafted content in Office files which may result in remote code execution. This vulnerability can be exploited if a user opens a specially crafted file or previews a specially crafted email with an affected version of Microsoft Office using Microsoft Word as the email reader. By default, Outlook 2003 does not use Microsoft Word as the email reader. The issue could also be prompted if the file is sent as an email attachment, or is hosted on a website.

Successful exploitation could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the logged on user. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

It should be noted that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
We recommend the following actions be taken:

  • Apply appropriate patches provided by Microsoft to vulnerable systems immediately after appropriate testing.
  • Run all software as a non-privileged user (one without administrative privileges) to diminish the effects of a successful attack.
  • Remind users not to visit un-trusted websites or follow links provided by unknown or un-trusted sources.
  • Remind users not to open email attachments from unknown users or suspicious emails from trusted sources. 

REFERENCES:
Microsoft:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-051

CVE:
http://www.cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2013-1331

Deborah A. Snyder

Acting Chief Information Security Officer


 

Cyber Security

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