Vulnerability in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution

ITS Advisory Number: 
2015-018
Date(s) Issued: 
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Subject: 
Vulnerability in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution
Overview: 

A memory corruption vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Word that could allow for remote code execution. An attacker can exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-in user. Failed exploit attempts will likely result in denial-of-service conditions.

Systems Affected: 
  • Microsoft Word
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: 

A memory corruption vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Word that could allow for remote code execution. Specifically, this issue exists in the line formatting functionality of Microsoft Word. To exploit this issue, an attacker would need to entice an unsuspecting user to view a specially crafted Word file. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-in user. Depending on the rights associated with the logged on user an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system and install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts.  Failed exploit attempts will likely result in denial-of-service conditions.

Please note that there is currently no patch available for this vulnerability. We will update this advisory with additional information as soon as we receive it.

Actions: 

We recommend the following actions be taken:

  • Apply the patch from Microsoft, as soon as one becomes available, 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.
  • Remind users not to open email attachments from unknown users or suspicious emails from trusted sources.