Multiple Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-042)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2016-072
Date(s) Issued: 
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Subject: 
Multiple Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-042)
Overview: 

Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in Microsoft Office, the most severe of which could allow for remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file. Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities 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.

Systems Affected: 

Microsoft Office 2007

  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Microsoft Office 2013RT
  • Microsoft Office 2016
  • Microsoft Office Mac 2011 for Mac
  • Microsoft Office Mac 2016 for Mac
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Microsoft Office Web Apps 2010
  • Microsoft Office Web Apps 2013
RISK
GOVERNMENT
Large and medium government entities: 
High
Small government entities: 
High
BUSINESS
Large and medium business entities: 
High
Small business entities: 
High
Home Users: 
High
Description: 

Multiple vulnerabilities exist in Microsoft Office, the most severe of which could allow for remote code execution.

Four remote code execution vulnerabilities exist in Microsoft Office software when the Office software fails to properly handle objects in memory. (CVE-2016-0122, CVE-2016-0127, CVE-2016-0136, CVE-2016-0139) 

  • Note that the Preview Pane is an attack vector for CVE-2016-0127.

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. Customers whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than those who operate with administrative user rights. 

Actions: 
  • Apply appropriate patches provided by Microsoft to vulnerable systems immediately after appropriate testing
  • Run all software as 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.
  • Inform and educate users regarding the threats posed by hypertext links contained in emails or attachments especially from un-trusted sources.