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CA-2002-37 Buffer Overflow in Microsoft Windows Shell


CERT Advisory CA-2002-37 Buffer Overflow in Microsoft Windows Shell

Original release date: December 19, 2002
Last revised: --
Source: CERT/CC

A complete revision history can be found at the end of this file.

Systems Affected

* All versions of Microsoft Windows XP


A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the Microsoft Windows Shell.
An attacker can exploit this vulnerability by enticing a victim to
read a malicious email message, visit a malicious web page, or browse
to a folder containing a malicious .MP3 or .WMA file. The attacker can
then execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the victim.

I. Description

The Microsoft Windows Shell provides the basic human-computer
interface for Windows systems. Browsing local and remote folders,
running wizards, and performing configuration tasks are examples of
operations utilizing the Windows Shell. Microsoft describes the
Windows Shell as follows:

The Windows Shell is responsible for providing the basic framework
of the Windows user interface experience. It is most familiar to
users as the Windows Desktop, but also provides a variety of other
functions to help define the user's computing session, including
organizing files and folders, and providing the means to start

A vulnerability exists in the Windows Shell function used to extract
attribute information from audio files. This function is invoked
automatically when a user browses to a folder containing .MP3 or .WMA
files. Further information about this vulnerability can be found in
the following documents:

Foundstone Research Labs Advisory FS2002-11
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-072
CERT/CC Vulnerability Note VU#591890

A CVE candidate (CAN-2002-1327) has been assigned as well.

II. Impact

An attacker can either execute arbitrary code (which would run with
the privileges of the victim) or crash the Windows Shell.

III. Solution

Apply a patch from your vendor

Appendix A contains information provided by vendors for this advisory.
As vendors report new information to the CERT/CC, we will update this
section and note the changes in our revision history. If a particular
vendor is not listed below, we have not received their comments.
Please contact your vendor directly.

Note that Microsoft is actively deploying the patch for this vulnerability via
Windows Update.

Appendix A. - Vendor Information

Microsoft Corporation

Please see

Appendix B. - References

1. Foundstone Research Labs Advisory FS2002-11 -

2. Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-072 -

3. CERT/CC Vulnerability Note VU#591890 -

4. CVE CAN-2002-1327 -


Foundstone Research Labs discovered this vulnerability.

Author: Ian A. Finlay.

This document is available from:

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Any material furnished by Carnegie Mellon University and the Software
Engineering Institute is furnished on an "as is" basis. Carnegie
Mellon University makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or
implied as to any matter including, but not limited to, warranty of
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Copyright 2002 Carnegie Mellon University.

Revision History
December 19, 2002: Initial release

Version: PGP 6.5.8


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