search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

CERT Coordination Center

Microsoft Word does not adequately validate macros embedded within malformed Word documents

Vulnerability Note VU#295867

Original Release Date: 2002-09-27 | Last Revised: 2002-09-27


There is a vulnerability caused by a failure to detect macros embedded in Microsoft Word documents. This vulnerability may allow the author of a malicious document to execute arbitrary commands as the user who opens the document.


Microsoft Word versions including Word 2002, Word 2000, Word 97, Word 98J, Word 98 for Macintosh and Word 2001 for Macintosh have a vulnerability involving the detection of macros. Macros embedded in specific malformed documents are not properly detected by Microsoft Word, even though they will execute when the document is opened.

In Office 2000 and later, there are three possible settings for the macro security. The macro executes even if the user's macro security setting is "High", which would normally prevent execution. If the user's macro security setting is "Medium", the user will fail to receive a warning dialog as expected before the macro executes. The "Low" macro security setting is not recommended, and would normally allow the execution of macros. In earlier versions of Office, the security settings may differ.


The author of a malicious document may be able to execute aribtrary commands as the user who opens the document.


Apply a Patch

Microsoft has published patches correcting this vulnerability. The patches are listed in their advisory at:

Note that the patches referenced in MS01-028 also correct this vulnerability for Word 2000, Word 97, Word 98J, Word 98 for Macintosh and Word 2001 for Macintosh.

Vendor Information

Expand all

Microsoft Corporation

Updated:  July 16, 2002



Vendor Statement

No statement is currently available from the vendor regarding this vulnerability.

Vendor Information

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


Microsoft has published a security bulletin describing this vulnerability at:

CVSS Metrics

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



Thanks to Steven McLeod for discovering this vulnerability.

This document was written by Cory F. Cohen.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2001-0501
Severity Metric: 8.10
Date Public: 2001-06-21
Date First Published: 2002-09-27
Date Last Updated: 2002-09-27 17:49 UTC
Document Revision: 9

Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.