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Microsoft Windows And Office GDI+ Memory Corruption Vulnerability



Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet application within Microsoft Office.


Remote exploitation of a memory corruption vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s Excel could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user. The vulnerability occurs when Excel parses a metafile picture in an Excel file. Metafile is usually used to cache view for an Excel chart. When parsing the metafile, certain invalid values can trigger a memory corruption vulnerability. This can result in 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. Exploitation of this vulnerability is relatively complex.


The following Microsoft products are vulnerable:

  • Windows Vista SP 2
  • Windows Vista x64 Edition SP 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems SP 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems SP 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems SP 2
  • Microsoft Office 2003 SP 3
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 2
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 3
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (32-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 SP 1 (64-bit editions)


Microsoft recommends disabling metafile procssing by setting:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionGRE_Initialize DisableMetaFiles DWORD 1


Microsoft Corp. has addressed this vulnerability with the release of updates to Excel. More information can be found at the following URL:


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2012-0165 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


02/15/2012 Initial Vendor Notification
02/16/2012 Initial Vendor Reply
05/08/2012 Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2012 Verisign, Inc.

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