Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-014 - Critical
Patch Available for Excel 97 Virus Warning Vulnerabilities
Published: May 07, 1999
Originally Posted: May 7, 1999
Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates vulnerabilities in the Microsoft® Excel 97 virus warning mechanism. The patch is fully supported, and Microsoft recommends that affected customers download and install it, if appropriate.
Microsoft Excel 97 provides a feature that warns the user before launching an external file that could potentially contain a virus or other malicious software. This feature allows the user to weigh the risk of opening the file, based on its origin, the network it is located on and the security practices in operation there, the sensitivity of the data on the user's computer, and other factors.
However, certain scenarios have been identified that could be misused to bypass the warning mechanism. In general, they require the use of infrequently-combined features and commands, and are unlikely to be encountered in normal use. This patch addresses these issues so that they cannot be taken advantage of by a malicious user.
While there are no reports of customers being adversely affected by any of the vulnerabilities eliminated by the patch, Microsoft is proactively releasing the patch to allow customers to take appropriate action to protect themselves against it. These fixes are already built into Excel 2000 and users of that product will not need to download this patch.
Affected Software Versions
- Microsoft Excel 97
Vulnerability Identifier: CVE-1999-0717
What Microsoft is Doing
Microsoft has released patches that fix the problem identified. The patches are available for download from the sites listed below in What Customers Should Do.
Microsoft also has sent this security bulletin to customers subscribing to the Microsoft Product Security Notification Service. See The Microsoft Product Security Notification Service for more information about this free customer service.
Microsoft has published the following Knowledge Base (KB) article on this issue:
Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article 231304, Patch Available for Excel 97 Virus Warning Vulnerabilities, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;231304&sd=tech.
(Note: It might take 24 hours from the original posting of this bulletin for the KB article to be visible in the Web-based Knowledge Base.)
What Customers Should Do
Microsoft highly recommends that customers evaluate the degree of risk that this vulnerability poses to their systems and determine whether to download and install the patch. The patch can be found at: http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/9798/Xl8p9pkg.aspx
Please see the following references for more information related to this issue.
- Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-014, Patch Available for Excel 97 Virus Warning Vulnerabilities (the Web-posted version of this bulletin), http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms99-014.mspx.
- Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article 231304, Patch Available for Excel 97 Virus Warning Vulnerabilities, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;231304&sd=tech.
Obtaining Support on this Issue
If you require technical assistance with this issue, please contact Microsoft Technical Support. For information on contacting Microsoft Technical Support, please see http://support.microsoft.com/contactussupport/?ws=support.
- May 7, 1999: Bulletin Created.
For additional security-related information about Microsoft products, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security
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