Vulnerability Note VU#26493

MS Excel XLM Text Macro execution fails to trigger warning when default medium security set

Original Release date: 27 Sep 2002 | Last revised: 27 Sep 2002


Excel fails to present a warning dialog when a macro is called from an external XLM (text macro) file.


If a spreadsheet contains a reference to an external macro (XLM) file, Excel does not generate the usual warning dialog asking if the user wants to run the macro. Microsoft reports that the macros can not be automatically executed, and that the user must trigger the macro. It is possible that actions such as changing the cell focus are sufficient to trigger a macro however. The file types that may include a reference to an external macro include: comma separated values, tab delimited text, and data interchange format. Excel 97 and Excel 2000 have this vulnerability.

Microsoft has published a security bulletin with additional information at:


Users may be tricked into executing an Excel macro, allowing the creator of the spreadsheet to execute arbitrary commands as the user opening the spreadsheet.


Apply a Patch

Microsoft has produced patches to correct this vulnerability. The patches are referenced in their advisory at:

Set Macro Security Level to"High"

Setting the macro execution security level to "High", will prevent the macros from running.

Systems Affected (Learn More)

VendorStatusDate NotifiedDate Updated
Microsoft CorporationAffected-16 Jul 2002
If you are a vendor and your product is affected, let us know.

CVSS Metrics (Learn More)

Group Score Vector
Base N/A N/A
Temporal N/A N/A
Environmental N/A N/A



Microsoft credits Darryl Higa for finding this vulnerability.

This document was written by Cory F. Cohen.

Other Information

  • CVE IDs: CVE-2000-0277
  • Date Public: 03 Apr 2000
  • Date First Published: 27 Sep 2002
  • Date Last Updated: 27 Sep 2002
  • Severity Metric: 4.01
  • Document Revision: 3


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