Microsoft Windows ActiveX Control Code Execution

Notification Type: IBM Internet Security Systems Protection Alert
Notification Date: August 23, 2012
Notification Version: 1.0
Name: Microsoft Windows ActiveX Control Code Execution
Public disclosure/
In the wild date:
August 15, 2012
Aliases: MS12-060
CVE: CVE-2012-1856

A vulnerability exists in Microsoft Windows TabStrip ActiveX control of the Windows common controls, contained in MSCOMCTL.OCX file.


ISS Coverage

Product Content Version
Proventia Network IDS
Proventia Network IPS
Proventia MFS
Proventia Server (Linux)
RealSecure Network
RealSecure Server Sensor
Virtual Server Protection for VMware
Proventia Desktop
Proventia Server IPS (Windows)
Propagation Techniques ISS Protection Available
Remote Exploit Office_Mscomctl_TabStrip_Abuse*
23 Aug 2012

* This signature is NOT blocking by default so caution is advised (watch to see if it is triggering before you enable blocking.)

Detailed Description

Business Impact:

A remote code execution vulnerability, which could allow an attacker to gain the same rights as the current logged on user upon successful exploitation has been discovered in the TabStrip ActiveX common control (MSCOMCTL.OCX). In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to lure the user into visiting a malicious website using a web browser that supports ActiveX controls or convince a user to open a specially crafted document, which could for example be sent as an email attachment.

*CVSS: Base Score: 9.3
  Access Vector: Network
Access Complexity: Medium
Authentication: None
Confidentiality Impact: Complete
Integrity Impact: Complete
Availability Impact: Complete
Adjusted Temporal Score: 6.9
  Exploitability: Unproven
Remediation Level: Official Fix
Report Confidence: Confirmed
Affected Products: For a full list of affected versions, see references below.
Technical Description

The vulnerability exists in the TabStrip ActiveX control of the Windows common controls, contained in MSCOMCTL.OCX file. An attacker could either craft a document (example: Rich Text Format [RTF] file) or a webpage to exploit this vulnerability. Upon successful exploitation, the attacker gains the ability to execute arbitrary code, in the security context of the user who opens the attacker crafted document or visits the attacker crafted webpage with an ActiveX enabled  browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer. This attack vector however is mitigated if Internet Explorer is operating in a restricted mode known as Enhanced Security Configuration, which is default on the Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 operating system versions.


A patch is available, see references below for details.


Microsoft SRD blog:

Revision History

1.0 Initial publication.

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