A Vulnerability in Microsoft XML Core Services Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-040)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2016-068
Date(s) Issued: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Subject: 
A Vulnerability in Microsoft XML Core Services Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-040)
Overview: 

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft XML Core Services that could allow for remote code execution. Microsoft XML Core Services is an application for processing Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) in an XML file and these services are included in various Windows operating system installations, by default. 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: 
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 (Including Server Core Installations)

 

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 in Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML) exists when the MSXML parser processes user input. In an attack scenario, an attacker could host a specially-crafted website that is designed to invoke MSXML through Internet Explorer. An attacker would then have to entice a user to follow a malicious link to the specially crafted website in order to exploit this vulnerability (CVE-2016-0147). 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.

Actions: 
  • After appropriate testing, apply applicable 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 from un-trusted sources.