A Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS17-002)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2017-002
Date(s) Issued: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Subject: 
A Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS17-002)
Overview: 

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Office, which could result in remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability 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 2016
  • Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise Server 2016
RISK
GOVERNMENT
Large and medium government entities: 
High
Small government entities: 
Medium
BUSINESS
Large and medium business entities: 
High
Small business entities: 
Medium
Home Users: 
Low
Description: 

In an email attack scenario an attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending the specially crafted file to the user and convincing the user to open the file. In a web-based attack scenario an attacker could host a website (or leverage a compromised website) that contains a specially crafted file that is designed to exploit the vulnerability. Note that the Preview Pane is not an attack vector for this vulnerability.

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability 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 those who operate with administrative user rights.

Actions: 
  • After appropriate testing, immediately apply patches provided by Microsoft to vulnerable systems.
  • 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 those from un-trusted sources.
  • Apply the principle of Least Privilege to all systems and services.