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Microsoft Excel Record Integer Signedness Vulnerability



Excel is the spreadsheet application included with Microsoft Corp.'s Office productivity software suite. More information is available at the following website:


Remote exploitation of an integer signedness vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s Excel could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user.

The vulnerability is an integer signedness issue that leads to an invalid array indexing vulnerability. It is triggered by a certain record with a negative 'iax' field.

It is possible to pass negative 16-bit values, which are later sign extended to 32 bits. The sign extended value is later used as an index into a heap-based array. Due to the incomplete validation of the 'iax' field, it is possible to index outside of the bounds of the array, which can lead to a controlled overwrite of arbitrary memory locations with user data. This can lead to the execution of arbitrary code.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the user opening the file. To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to convince a user to open a malicious file. Attackers typically accomplish this by e-mailing a targeted user the file or hosting the file on a Web page.


Microsoft has reported the following products vulnerable:

 * Microsoft Excel 2003 SP 3 * Microsoft Excel 2007 SP 2 * Microsoft Office 2007 SP 2 * Microsoft Excel 2010 (32-bit editions) * Microsoft Excel 2010 SP 1 (32-bit editions) * Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (32-bit editions) * Microsoft Excel 2010 (64-bit editions) * Microsoft Excel 2010 SP 1 (64-bit editions) * Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (64-bit editions) * Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac * Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac * Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 * Open XML File Format Converter for Mac * Microsoft Excel Viewer SP 2 * Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats SP 2 * Excel Services * Microsoft Excel Web App 2010 and Microsoft Excel Web App 2010 SP 1 


Microsoft suggested workarounds can be found under the Workaround section within Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-072.


Microsoft has released fixes which addresses this issue. Information about downloadable vendor updates can be found by clicking on the URLs shown.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2011-1987 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


02/25/2011 Initial Vendor Notification
02/25/2011 Vendor Reply
09/13/2011 Coordinated Public Disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Sean Larsson, iDefense Labs.

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Copyright © 2011 Verisign, Inc.

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