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Microsoft WordPad Text Converter vulnerable to remote code execution

Vulnerability Note VU#926676

Original Release Date: 2008-12-11 | Last Revised: 2008-12-11


The WordPad Text Converter for Word 97 files included in some versions of Windows contains an unspecified error which can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.


Microsoft WordPad is a text editor included by default with the Windows operating system. It includes WordPad Text Converters that allow users who do not have Microsoft Word installed to open documents in older file formats, including Microsoft Office Word 97.

An unspecified error in the way that the WordPad Text Converter for Word 97 handles files in this format results in memory corruption that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code. Microsoft Office Word 97 files may have file extensions such as .doc, .wri, or .rtf. While Microsoft Office Word has the ability to open Office Word 97 files, it is not affected by this vulnerability. However, in the default configuration, Windows will open files having the .wri extension with WordPad. Therefore, it is likely that systems that have Microsoft Office Word installed will still open a malicious Microsoft Office Word 97 document with this extension using the affected WordPad.

Microsoft notes that Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (including x64 editions), and Windows Server 2008 are not affected by this vulnerability.

This vulnerability is currently being exploited in the wild.


By convincing a user to view a specially crafted Word 97 document (e.g., an attachment supplied in email), a remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary commands with the privileges of the user.


We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem.

Disable the WordPad Text Converter for Word 97 file format

Microsoft has included instructions for disabling the affected component in Microsoft Security Advisory (960906).

Vendor Information


Microsoft Corporation Affected

Updated:  December 11, 2008



Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.

Vendor Information

Microsoft has published Microsoft Security Advisory (960906) in response to this issue. Users are encouraged to review this advisory and apply the workarounds it prescribes.

CVSS Metrics

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This document was written by Chad R Dougherty.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2008-4841
Severity Metric: 6.89
Date Public: 2008-12-09
Date First Published: 2008-12-11
Date Last Updated: 2008-12-11 18:59 UTC
Document Revision: 12

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