Vulnerability in Windows OLE Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-044)

ITS Advisory Number: 
2016-073
Date(s) Issued: 
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Subject: 
Vulnerability in Windows OLE Could Allow for Remote Code Execution (MS16-044)
Overview: 

A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Windows Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), which could allow for remote code execution. Windows OLE allows an application to link part of a document to another application of a different type for processing. This vulnerability exists when Windows OLE fails to properly validate user input. 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 Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 (including Server Core installation)
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 (including Server Core installation)
  • Microsoft Windows RT 8.1
  • Microsoft Windows 10
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 vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Windows Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), which could allow for remote code execution. This vulnerability exists when Windows OLE fails to properly validate user input. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by convincing a user to open either a specially crafted file or via a phishing email. 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: 
  • 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 un-trusted sources.