A Vulnerability in Microsoft Windows PDF Library Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS17-009)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2017-023
Date(s) Issued: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Subject: 
A Vulnerability in Microsoft Windows PDF Library Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS17-009)
Overview: 

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Windows PDF Library, which could allow for remote code execution. Windows PDF Library is a library used for natively reading PDF files, and is included in various Windows operating system installations. 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.

  

Systems Affected: 
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows RT 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2
  • Windows 10
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: 

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Windows PDF Library, which could allow for remote code execution. This vulnerability exists when Microsoft Windows PDF Library improperly handles objects in memory. The vulnerability could corrupt memory in a way that enables an attacker to execute remote code in the context of the current user. This vulnerability is triggered if a user opens a specially crafted PDF file. In an email attack scenario, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending an email and enticing a user to open a specially crafted PDF file that is attached. (CVE-2017-0023)

 

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 install the updates provided by Adobe.
  • 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 websites or follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.
  • Inform and educate users regarding the threats posed by hypertext links contained in emails or attachments especially from untrusted sources.  
  • Apply the Principle of Least Privilege to all systems and services.