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Microsoft Internet Explorer contains a buffer overflow in CSS parsing

Vulnerability Note VU#291304

Original Release Date: 2004-10-18 | Last Revised: 2004-10-18


A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the way that Microsoft Internet Explorer processes Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service.


CSS is a mechanism for adding style to web documents. Microsoft Internet Explorer contains a buffer overflow vulnerability in code that handles CSS. An attacker can exploit this vulnerability by creating a specially crafted style sheet that causes a buffer overflow and heap memory corruption. The buffer overflow can be triggered by viewing an HTML document such as a web page or email message.


An attacker may be able to cause a denial of service or potentially execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user logged on to the target machine. If the user is logged on with administrative privileges, the attacker could take complete control of a vulnerable system.


Apply a patch

Apply the patch referenced in MS04-038.

Render email in plain text

Configure email client software (mail user agent [MUA]) to render email messages in plaint text. Instructions to configure Outlook 2002 and Outlook Express 6 are available in Microsoft Knowledge Base Articles 307594 and 291387, respectively.

Vendor Information


Microsoft Corporation Affected

Updated:  October 15, 2004



Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.


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This vulnerability was reported by Phuong Nguyen and David Coomber from

This document was written by Will Dormann.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2004-0842
Severity Metric: 6.75
Date Public: 2004-10-12
Date First Published: 2004-10-18
Date Last Updated: 2004-10-18 21:23 UTC
Document Revision: 7

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