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Microsoft Excel Record Memory Corruption 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 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 certain specially crafted record in an Excel file. An invalid value of the length field in the record header can trigger an error condition and result in using memory content which has already been freed and may allow arbitrary code execution.


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-2011-1986 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


02/16/2011 Initial Vendor Notification
02/16/2011 Vendor Reply
09/13/2011 Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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Copyright © 2011 Verisign, Inc.

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