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Alert (TA06-139A)

Microsoft Word Vulnerability

Systems Affected

  • Microsoft Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word XP (2002)

Microsoft Word is included in Microsoft Works Suite and Microsoft Office. Other versions of Word, and other Office programs may be affected or act as attack vectors.


A buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft Word could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.


Microsoft Word contains a buffer overflow vulnerability. Opening a specially crafted Word document, including documents hosted on web sites or attached to email messages, could trigger the vulnerability.

Office documents can contain embedded objects. For example, a malicious Word document could be embedded in an Excel or PowerPoint document. Office documents other than Word documents could be used as attack vectors.

For more information, please see Vulnerability Note VU#446012.


By convincing a user to open a specially crafted Word document, an attacker could execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system. If the user has administrative privileges, the attacker could gain complete control of the system.


At the time of writing, there is no complete solution available. Consider the following workarounds:

Do not open untrusted Word documents

Do not open unfamiliar or unexpected Word or other Office documents, including those received as email attachments or hosted on a web site. Please see Cyber Security Tip ST04-010 for more information.

Do not rely on file extension filtering

In most cases, Windows will call Word to open a document even if the document has an unknown file extension. For example, if document.d0c (note the digit "0") contains the correct file header information, Windows will open document.d0c with Word.

Appendix A. References

Information used in this document came from SANS and Microsoft.

Revision History

  • May 19, 2006: Initial release

    Last updated

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