Security Update for Microsoft Office to Address Remote Code Execution (MS16-015)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2016-026
Date(s) Issued: 
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Subject: 
Security Update for Microsoft Office to Address Remote Code Execution (MS16-015)
Overview: 

Multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in Microsoft Office that could allow remote code execution. These vulnerabilities can be exploited when a user opens a specially crafted email or 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: 
  • Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2013 RT, 2016 
  • Office for Mac 2011, 2016
  • Excel Viewer 
  • Word Viewer
  • SharePoint Server 2007, 2010, 2013
  • Office Web Apps 2010, 2013
  • SharePoint Server 2013
  • SharePoint Foundation 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 remote code execution. The vulnerabilities are as follows:

  • Six memory corruption vulnerabilities exist when the Office software fails to properly handle objects in member. The vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to execute remote code by luring a victim execute a malicious Microsoft Office file. (CVE-2016-0022, CVE-2016-0052, CVE-2016-0053, CVE-2016-0054, CVE-2016-0055, CVE-2016-0056)
  • A cross-site scripting vulnerability exists in Microsoft SharePoint when SharePoint Server does not properly sanitize a specially crafted web request to an affected SharePoint server. (CVE-2016-0039)

Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could result in an attacker gaining the same rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

Actions: 
  • 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.
  • Inform and educate users regarding the threats posed by hypertext links contained in emails or attachments especially from untrusted sources.