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Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-037 - Critical

Patch Available for "ImportExportFavorites" Vulnerability

Published: September 10, 1999 | Updated: December 08, 1999

Version: 1.3

Originally Posted: September 10, 1999
Re-released: September 24, 1999
Revised: December 08, 1999

Summary

On September 10, 1999, Microsoft released the original version of this bulletin, in order to provide a workaround for a security vulnerability in Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5 that could allow a malicious web site operator to take inappropriate action on the computer of a person who visited the site. Microsoft has completed a patch that completely eliminates the vulnerability, and has re-released this bulletin in order to advise customers of its availability. In addition to eliminating the "ImportExportFavorites" vulnerability, the patch also eliminates a security vulnerability posed by several ActiveX controls that ship as part of Internet Explorer 4.01 and 5.

Frequently asked questions regarding this vulnerability can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq99-037.mspx

Issue

IE 5 includes a feature that allows users to export a list of their favorite web sites to a file, or to import a file containing a list of favorite sites. The method that is used to perform this function, ImportExportFavorites(), should only allow particular types of files to be written, and only to specific locations on the drive. However, it is possible for a web site to invoke this method, bypass this restriction and write files that could be used to execute system commands. The net result is that a malicious web site operator potentially could take any action on the computer that the user would be capable of taking.

This vulnerability would chiefly affect workstations that are connected to the Internet. The patch restores correct operation to the ImportExportFavorites() method. In addition, the patch addresses security problems posed by several ActiveX controls. The specific controls and the actions taken are discussed in the FAQ.

Affected Software Versions

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 and 5

Vulnerability Identifier: CVE-1999-0702

Patch Availability

The patch is available at the following locations:

More Information

Please see the following references for more information related to this issue.

Obtaining Support on this Issue

Information on contacting Microsoft Technical Support is available at http://support.microsoft.com/contactussupport/?ws=support.

Acknowledgments

Microsoft acknowledges Georgi Guninski for bringing the ImportExportFavorites issue to our attention. Microsoft acknowledges Shane Hird of Australia and Richard Smith of Phar Lap Software (http://www.pharlap.com/) for reporting the unsafe ActiveX controls to us.

Revisions

  • September 10, 1999: Bulletin Created.
  • September 24, 1999: Bulletin revised to provide patch information and discuss ActiveX controls.
  • October 12, 1999: Updated to provide information on availability of patch via WindowsUpdate.
  • December 08, 1999: Updated to provide information on incorporation of IE 5 patch into patch for "Server-Side Page Reference Redirect" vulnerability

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