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Category:   Application (Web Browser)  >   Microsoft Internet Explorer Vendors:   Microsoft
Internet Explorer Sends Potentially Sensitive Web Browser Contents to Microsoft via the Network When an Error Occurs
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1002560
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Oct 16 2001
Impact:   Disclosure of system information, Disclosure of user information

Version(s): IE 5 and higher
Description:   The U.S. Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory Center (CIAC) warned of an "Error Reporting" feature in Microsoft Internet Explorer that causes potentially sensitive user information to be sent over the network to Microsoft when errors occur.

It is reported that, in the default configuration, the Error Reporting feature may send portions of the user's web browser contents to Microsoft along with debugging information. No further details were provided.

The CIAC advisory is available at:

Impact:   Portions of the local user's web browser contents may be sent to Microsoft along with debugging information when an error occurs in the application.
Solution:   CIAC reports that disabling Error Reporting in Internet Explorer varies depending on which version of IE is being used. Special instructions for IE 6 on Windows XP are provided at the bottom of this section.

For IE, CIAC recommends first trying to remov Internet Explorer Error Reporting using the Control Panel:

1.Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
2.Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
3.In the list of installed programs, click Internet Explorer Error Reporting, and then click Add/Remove (Windows 98, Me,
NT 4) or Remove (Windows 2000).
4.Click OK.

If Internet Explorer Error Reporting is not present in Add/Remove Programs, use the Registry script available at to disable it.

CIAC notes that only administators have access to the Registry.

For Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP, the following steps can be used to disable Error Reporting:

1.Click Start, and then click Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel).
2.Double-click System (or click "Switch to Classic View", and then double-click System).
3.Click the Advanced tab, and then click Error Reporting.
4.Click "Disable error reporting" to disable both user and kernel-mode error reporting, or click to clear the Programs check
5.Click OK, then click OK again.

Administrators can disable error reporting in Windows XP Professional by setting Report Errors to Disabled in Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc) in the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Error Reporting folder.

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Exception handling error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Me), Windows (NT), Windows (95), Windows (98), Windows (2000), Windows (XP)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Date:  Mon, 15 Oct 2001 14:11:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:  BULLETIN M-005 Office XP Error Reporting May Send Sensitive Documents to Microsoft

[For Public Release]


                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                     Computer Incident Advisory Center
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

      Office XP Error Reporting May Send Sensitive Documents to Microsoft

October 15, 2001 20:00 GMT                                        Number M-005
PROBLEM:       Microsoft Office XP and Internet Explorer version 5 and later 
               are configured to automatically send debugging information to 
               Microsoft in the event of a program crash. The debugging 
               information includes a memory dump which may contain all or 
               part of the document being viewed or edited. This debug message 
               potentially could contain sensitive, private information. 
PLATFORM:      Microsoft Office XP 
               Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and later 
               Microsoft Windows XP
               Microsoft has indicated that this will be a feature of all new 
               Microsoft products. 
DAMAGE:        Sensitive or private information could inadvertently be sent to 
               Microsoft. Some simple testing of the feature found document 
               information in one message out of three. 
SOLUTION:      Apply the registry changes listed in this bulletin to disable 
               the automatic sending of debugging information. If you are 
               working with sensitive information and a program asks to send 
               debugging information to Microsoft, you should click No. 
VULNERABILITY  The risk is MEDIUM/LOW. Sensitive documents could be sent to 
ASSESSMENT:    Microsoft. 
 PATCHES:            Office XP: 

Version: 4.0 Business Edition


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