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Microsoft Internet Explorer MDAC Component Buffer Overflow Allows Remote Users to Execute Arbitrary Code
SecurityTracker Alert ID: 1005672|
SecurityTracker URL: http://securitytracker.com/id/1005672
(Links to External Site)
Date: Nov 20 2002
Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network|
Fix Available: Yes Vendor Confirmed: Yes |
Version(s): 5.01, 5.5, 6.0|
A buffer overflow vulnerability was reported in the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) software (which is distributed as part of Internet Explorer) in the Remote Data Services (RDS) implementation. A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the system.|
Microsoft issued an advisory warning that the RDS Data Stub function in MDAC versions prior to 2.7 contains a flaw. A remote user can send a specially crafted HTTP request to the RDS to trigger the overflow and write to the heap, causing arbitrary code to be executed.
On the Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, which includes the RDS Data Stub, a remote user could send a specially crafted HTTP reply in response to the target user's HTTP request to trigger the overflow. The arbitrary code would run with the privileges of the target user.
Microsoft credits Foundstone Research Labs for reporting this issue.
A remote user could cause arbitrary code to be run with the privileges of the target user.|
Microsoft has released a patch, available at:|
This patch can be installed on Windows 98 Gold, Windows 98SE Gold, Windows Me Gold, Windows NT4 SP6a, and Windows 2000 SP2 or SP3
Microsoft plans to include this fix in the next service pack for MDAC 2.5 and in IE 5.01 SP4 and IE 6.0 SP2.
Microsoft warns that a patched system could, under unusual conditions, be rendered vulnerable again. The vendor reports that it is not possible to set the "Kill Bit" used by one of the vulnerable ActiveX components, because many other applications use that component. To counter this, Microsoft indicates that you should configure your system so that you have no trusted publishers, including Microsoft. Then, if malicious HTML content attempts to download an ActiveX control to your system, the system will generate a warning message.
Microsoft has provided the following steps on how to empty the Trusted Publishers list:
1. In Internet Explorer, choose Tools, then Internet Options.
2. Select the Content tab. In the Certificates section of the page, click on Publishers.
3. In the Certificates dialog, click on the Trusted Publishers tab.
4. For each certificate in the list, click on the certificate and then select Remove. Confirm that you want to remove the entry.
5. When you ve removed all entries from the list, select Close to close the Certificates dialog, then click on OK to close the Internet Options dialog.
Please refer to the Vendor URL for full details.
Microsoft has issued Knowledge Base article Q329414 regarding this issue, available at:
Vendor URL: www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-065.asp (Links to External Site)
Windows (Me), Windows (NT), Windows (98), Windows (2000)|
Source Message Contents
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 10:11:51 -0800|
Subject: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-065: Buffer Overrun in Microsoft Data Access Components Could Lead to Code Execution (Q329414)
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Title: Buffer Overrun in Microsoft Data Access Components Could
Lead to Code Execution (Q329414)
Date: 20 November, 2002
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.1
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.5
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.6
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
Impact: Run code of attacker?s choice
Max Risk: Critical
Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletins at:
Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) is a collection of components
used to provide database connectivity on Windows platforms. MDAC is
a ubiquitous technology, and it is likely to be present on most
- - It is included by default as part of Windows XP, Windows 2000, and
- - It is available for download as a stand-alone technology in its
- - It is either included in or installed by a number of other products
and technologies. For instance, MDAC is included in the Windows NT
4.0 Option Pack, and some MDAC components are present as part of
Internet Explorer even if MDAC itself is not installed.
MDAC provides the underlying functionality for a number of database
operations, such as connecting to remote databases and returning data
to a client. One of the MDAC components, known as Remote Data
Services(RDS), provides functionality that support three-tiered
Architectures ? that is, architectures in which a client?s requests
for service from a back-end database are intermediated through a web
site that applies business logic to them. A security vulnerability
is present in the RDS implementation, specifically, in a function
called the RDS Data Stub, whose purpose it is to parse incoming
HTTP requests and generate RDS commands.
The vulnerability results because of an unchecked buffer in the Data
Stub. By sending a specially malformed HTTP request to the Data Stub,
an attacker could cause data of his or her choice to overrun onto the
heap. Although heap overruns are typically more difficult to exploit
than the more-common stack overrun, Microsoft has confirmed that in
this case it would be possible to exploit the vulnerability to run
code of the attacker?s choice on the user?s system.
Both web servers and web clients are at risk from the vulnerability:
- - Web servers are at risk if a vulnerable version of MDAC is
and running on the server. To exploit the vulnerability against
a web server, an attacker would need to establish a connection with
the server and then send a specially malformed HTTP request to it,
that would have the effect of overrunning the buffer with the
attacker?s chosen data. The code would run in the security context
of the IIS service (which, by default, runs in the LocalSystem
- - Web clients are at risk in almost every case, as the RDS Data Stub
is included with all current versions of Internet Explorer and
there is no option to disable it. To exploit the vulnerability
against a client, an attacker would need to host a web page that,
when opened, would send an HTTP reply to the user's system and
overrun the buffer with the attacker's chosen data. The web page
could be hosted on a web site or sent directly to users as an HTML
Mail. The code would run in the security context of the user.
Clearly, this vulnerability is very serious, and Microsoft recommends
that all customers whose systems could be affected by them take app-
ropriate action immediately. Web server administrators should either
install the patch, disable MDAC and/or RDS, or upgrade to MDAC 2.7,
which is not affected by the vulnerability. Web client users should
install the patch immediately on any system that is used for web
browsing. It is important to stress that the latter guidance applies
to any system used for web browsing, regardless of any other
protective measures that have already been taken. For instance, a
web server on which RDS had been disabled would still need the patch
if it was occasionally used as a web client.
- - Web servers that are using MDAC version 2.7 (the version that
shipped with Windows XP) or later are not affected by the vulner-
- - Even if a vulnerable version of MDAC were installed, a web server
would only be at risk if RDS were enabled. RDS is disabled by
on clean installations of Windows XP and Windows 2000, and can be
disabled on other systems by following the guidance in the IIS
Security Checklist. In addition, the IIS Lockdown Tool will
automatically disable RDS when used in its default configuration.
- - If the URLScan tool were deployed with its default ruleset (which
allows only ASCII data to be present in an HTTP request), it is
likely that the vulnerability could only be used for denial of
- - IIS can be configured to run with fewer than administrative priv-
ileges. If this has been done, it would likewise limit the
that an attacker could gain through the vulnerability.
- - IP address restrictions, if applied to the RDS virtual directory,
could enable the administrator to restrict access to only trusted
users. This is, however, not practical for most web server
- - The HTML mail-based attack vector could not be exploited auto-
matically on systems where Outlook 98 or Outlook 2000 were used
in conjunction with the Outlook Email Security Update, or Outlook
Express 6 or Outlook 2002 were used in their default
- - Exploiting the vulnerability would convey to the attacker only the
user?s privileges on the system. Users whose accounts are
to have few privileges on the system would be at less risk than
ones who operate with administrative privileges.
- Internet systems: Critical
- Intranet systems: Critical
- Client systems: Critical
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
Security Bulletin at
for information on obtaining this patch.
- Microsoft thanks Foundstone Research Labs
(http://www.foundstone.com/) for reporting this issue to us
and working with us to protect customers.
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE IS
PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS
WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
IN NO EVENT
SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY
WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL,
BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR
SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME
NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL
INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.
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