This website uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. The use of cookies helps us to provide you with a specific service, to facilitate website use, to understand our visitors and to advertise to you. By continuing to browse the site you are giving consent to our use of cookies. Learn more in our Privacy Statement.

Security Services

Microsoft Office GDI+ Heap Overflow Vulnerability



GDI+ is a graphics device interface that provides two-dimensional vector graphics, imaging, and typography to applications and programmers.


Remote exploitation of a heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.'s Office could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the current user.

The vulnerability reside in GDI+ library when parsing a enhenced metafile (EMF) picture. When parsing the metafile, it fails to validate a WORD-sized index value within a certain record. This value is then used to control the amount of data stored into a fixed-sized heap buffer. This leads to a heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability.


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. To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would have to properly manipulate the layout of the heap.


The following Microsoft products are vulnerable:

  • Microsoft Office 2003 SP 3
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 2
  • Microsoft Office 2007 SP 3


Microsoft recommends disabling metafile processing 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-2012-0167 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


10/26/2011 Initial Vendor Notification
10/26/2011 Initial Vendor Reply
05/08/2012 Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

Get paid for vulnerability research

Free tools, research and upcoming events


Copyright © 2012 Verisign, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express written consent of iDefense. If you wish to reprint the whole or any part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please e-mail customer service for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.