New Zero Day: CVE-2023-21715, Zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Publisher

Security features bypass

Zero Day Released – 2023-02-14
Patch Released – 2023-02-14


The vulnerability allows a remote attacker to compromise the affected system.

The vulnerability exists due to unspecified error when processing files. A remote attacker can trick the victim to open a specially crafted file, bypass Office macro policies used to block untrusted or malicious files and execute arbitrary code on the system.

Note, the vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

CWE-ID: CWE-254 – Security Features

CWE-254 is a common weakness in software security, classified as “Error Handling: Uncaught Exception” by the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) standard. This weakness can lead to software crashes, unexpected behavior, and security vulnerabilities, as well as denial of service attacks.

The CWE-254 weakness arises when a program fails to handle an exception or error condition, such as an out-of-memory error or a file not found exception. Instead of gracefully handling the error, the program simply terminates or behaves unpredictably, leaving the system in an inconsistent state. This can be especially problematic in multi-threaded or distributed systems, where a failure in one component can have a cascading effect on the rest of the system.

Uncaught exceptions can also lead to security vulnerabilities, as attackers can potentially use them to cause the program to crash or execute arbitrary code. For example, if a program fails to properly handle a network connection error, an attacker may be able to cause the program to crash by sending specially crafted network packets.

To prevent uncaught exception vulnerabilities, developers can use a variety of techniques, including error handling, exception handling, and defensive programming. Error handling involves detecting and responding to errors in a way that avoids crashes or unexpected behavior. Exception handling is a specific type of error handling that involves catching and handling exceptions that are thrown by the program.

Defensive programming involves writing code that is robust and resilient to unexpected inputs or conditions. This can include techniques such as input validation, range checking, and boundary checking, as well as using libraries and programming languages that provide memory safety and other security guarantees.

Finally, it is important for developers to follow best practices for secure software development, including regular code reviews and vulnerability scanning, to identify and address potential uncaught exception vulnerabilities and other types of software weaknesses.

Overall, the CWE-254 weakness represents a significant security risk for many types of software applications. By following best practices for secure software development and using appropriate error handling and defensive programming techniques, developers can minimize the risk of uncaught exception vulnerabilities and other types of software weaknesses.

AdvisoryMicrosoft Advisory

Vulnerable component: Microsoft Publisher

CVSSv3 score: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H/E:H/RL:O/RC:C

External links:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top