Remote code execution in Microsoft Excel

Published: 2009-02-23 | Updated: 2016-12-20
Risk Critical
Patch available YES
Number of vulnerabilities 1
CVE-ID CVE-2009-0238
Exploitation vector Network
Public exploit This vulnerability is being exploited in the wild.
Vulnerable software
Microsoft Office
Client/Desktop applications / Office applications

Microsoft Excel
Client/Desktop applications / Office applications

Microsoft Office for Mac
Client/Desktop applications / Office applications

Excel Viewer
Client/Desktop applications / Office applications

Vendor Microsoft

Security Bulletin

This security bulletin contains one critical risk vulnerability.

1) Memory corruption


Risk: Critical

CVSSv3.1: 8.9 [CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H/E:F/RL:O/RC:C]

CVE-ID: CVE-2009-0238

CWE-ID: CWE-119 - Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer

Exploit availability: No


The vulnerability allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target system.

The weakness exists due to boundary error when parsing the Excel spreadsheet file format. A remote attacker can create a specially crafted Excel file containing a malformed object, trick the victim into opening it, trigger memory corruption and execute arbitrary code on the target system with privileges of the current user.

Successful exploitation of the vulnerability results in arbitrary code execution on the vulnerable system.

Note: this vulnerability was being actively exploited.


Install update from vendor's website:

Microsoft Office Excel 2000 Service Pack 3:
Microsoft Office Excel 2002 Service Pack 3:
Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Service Pack 3:
Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Service Pack 1:
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac:
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac:
Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003 Service Pack 3:
Microsoft Office Excel Viewer:
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats Service Pack 1:

Vulnerable software versions

Microsoft Office: 2007

Microsoft Excel: 2000 - 2007

Microsoft Office for Mac: 2004 - 2008

Excel Viewer: 2003

CPE2.3 External links

Q & A

Can this vulnerability be exploited remotely?

Yes. This vulnerability can be exploited by a remote non-authenticated attacker via the Internet.

How the attacker can exploit this vulnerability?

The attacker would have to trick the victim to visit a specially crafted website or open a file.

Is there known malware, which exploits this vulnerability?

No. We are not aware of malware exploiting this vulnerability. However, a fully functional exploit for this vulnerability is available.