Microsoft Internet Explorer Data Binding Vulnerability

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Microsoft Internet Explorer contains an invalid pointer vulnerability in its data binding code, which can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system. Exploit code for this vulnerability is publicly available and is being actively exploited.

Microsoft Internet Explorer contains an invalid pointer vulnerability in its data binding code. When Internet Explorer renders a document that performs data binding, it may crash in a way that is exploitable to run arbitrary code. Any program that uses Internet Explorer's MSHTML layout engine, such as Outlook Express, may be at risk. Further details are available in US-CERT Vulnerability Note VU#493881.


By convincing a user to view a specially crafted document that performs data binding (e.g., a web page or email message or attachment), an attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user.


Apply an update

This issue is addressed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078. This update provides new versions of mshtml.dll and wmshtml.dll, depending on the target operating system. More details are available in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 960714.

Disable Active Scripting

This vulnerability can be mitigated by disabling Active Scripting in the Internet Zone, as specified in the Securing Your Web Browser document. Note that this will not block the vulnerability. IE still may crash when parsing specially crafted content. Disabling Active Scripting will mitigate a common method used to achieve code execution with this vulnerability.

Enable DEP in Internet Explorer 7

Enabling DEP in Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista can help mitigate this vulnerability by making it more difficult to achieve code execution using this vulnerability.

Additional workarounds

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-078 provides additional details for the above workarounds, as well as other workarounds not listed here. These workarounds are further explained in the Microsoft SWI Blog.



December 17, 2008: Initial release

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