Microsoft Security Bulletin MS15-045 - Critical

Vulnerability in Windows Journal Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3046002)

Published: May 12, 2015

Version: 1.0

Executive Summary

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Journal file. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 (excluding Itanium), Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 (excluding Itanium), Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1. For more information, see the Affected Software section.

The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by modifying how Windows Journal parses Journal files. For more information about the vulnerabilities, see the Vulnerability Information section.

For more information about this update, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 3046002.

Affected Software

The following software versions or editions are affected. Versions or editions that are not listed are either past their support life cycle or are not affected. To determine the support life cycle for your software version or edition, see Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

Operating System Component Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Updates Replaced
Windows Vista
Windows Vista Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2[1] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2[1] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows 7
Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1[1] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows 8 for x64-based Systems
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 and 2974286 in MS14-038
Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems
(3046002)
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 and 2974286 in MS14-038
Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012[1] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows Server 2012 R2[1] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 and 2974286 in MS14-038
Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1
Windows RT[2] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038
Windows RT 8.1[2] (3046002) Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Critical 2971850 in MS14-038

Note The update is available for Windows Technical Preview and Windows Server Technical Preview. Customers running these operating systems are encouraged to apply the update, which is available via Windows Update.

[1]Servers are not affected in their default configurations; however, depending on the operating system, they are affected if Desktop Experience is installed or features of Desktop Experience are enabled. See the Update FAQ in this bulletin for more information.

[2]This update is available via Windows Update only.

Update FAQ

I am running one of the operating systems in the affected software table. Why am I not being offered the Journal update?
The update is only offered to systems on which Windows Journal is installed.

Note On supported editions of Windows Server 2008, Windows Journal is not installed by default. On this operating system, it is installed when the Desktop Experience feature is enabled. As a result, the update for Windows Journal only applies if Desktop Experience is enabled.

Note On supported editions of Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Journal is not installed by default. On these operating systems, it is installed when the Ink and Handwriting Services feature is enabled. As a result, the update for Windows Journal only applies if Ink and Handwriting Services is enabled.

Severity Ratings and Vulnerability Identifiers

The following severity ratings assume the potential maximum impact of the vulnerability. For information regarding the likelihood, within 30 days of this security bulletin's release, of the exploitability of the vulnerability in relation to its severity rating and security impact, please see the Exploitability Index in the May bulletin summary.

Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1675 Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1695 Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1696 Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1697 Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1698 Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - CVE-2015-1699 Aggregate Severity Rating
Windows Vista
Windows Vista Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 7
Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 8 for x64-based Systems
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows Server 2012 R2
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1
Windows RT
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Windows RT 8.1
(3046002)
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical
Remote Code Execution
Critical

Vulnerability Information

Multiple Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Windows when a specially crafted Journal file is opened in Windows Journal. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could cause arbitrary code to execute in the context of the current user. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

For an attack to be successful, this vulnerability requires that a user open a specially crafted Journal file with an affected version of Windows Journal. In an email attack scenario, an attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending a specially crafted Journal file to the user and by convincing the user to open the file. The update addresses the vulnerability by modifying how Windows Journal parses Journal files.

The following table contains links to the standard entry for each vulnerability in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list:

Vulnerability title CVE number Publicly Disclosed Exploited
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1675 Yes No
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1695 Yes No
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1696 No No
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1697 No No
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1698 No No
Windows Journal Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2015-1699 No No

Mitigating Factors

Microsoft has not identified any mitigating factors for this vulnerability.

Workarounds

The following workarounds may be helpful in your situation:

  • Do not open Windows Journal (.jnt) files that you receive from untrusted sources or that you receive unexpectedly from trusted sources
    Do not open Windows Journal (.jnt) files that you receive from untrusted sources or that you receive unexpectedly from trusted sources. This vulnerability could be exploited when a user opens a specially crafted file.

  • Remove the .jnt file type association

    Interactive Method:
    Note Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or view the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe.

    To remove the .jnt file type association using the interactive method, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, click jntfile, and then click the File menu and select Export.
    3. In the Export Registry File dialog box, type jntfile HKCR file association registry backup.reg and click Save. This will create a backup of this registry key in the My Documents folder by default.
    4. Press the Delete key on the keyboard to delete the registry key. When prompted to delete the registry value, click Yes.
    5. Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then Software, then Microsoft, then Windows, then CurrentVersion, then Explorer, and then FileExts.
    6. Click .jnt and then click the File menu and select Export.
    7. In the Export Registry File dialog box, type .jntHKCU file association registry backup.reg and then click Save. This will create a backup of this registry key in the My Documents folder by default.
    8. Press the Delete key on the keyboard to delete the registry key. When prompted to delete the registry value, click Yes.

Using a Managed Script:
Note Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or view the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe.

To remove the .jnt file type association using an interactive, managed script, follow these steps:

  1. First make a backup copy of the registry keys using a managed deployment script with the following commands:

    ```
    Regedit.exe /e jntfile_HKCR_registry_backup.reg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jntfile  
    Regedit.exe /e jnt_HKCU_registry_backup.reg `HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.jnt
    ```
    
  2. Next save the following to a file with a .reg extension (e.g., Delete_jnt_file_association.reg):

    ```
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00  
    [-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jntfile]  
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.jnt]
    ```
    
  3. Run the above registry script created in step 2 on the target machine with the following command:

    ```
    Regedit.exe /s Delete_jnt_file_association.reg
    ```
    

Impact of workaround. Double-clicking a .jnt file will no longer launch journal.exe.

How to undo the workaround:

Restore the registry key by using Registry Editor to restore the settings saved in the .REG files.

  • Remove Windows Journal by disabling the Windows feature that installs it

    On Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs.
    2. Click Turn Windows Features on or off and then clear Tablet PC Optional Components (Windows Vista systems) or Tablet PC Components (Windows 7 systems).
    3. Click OK.

Impact of workaround. Windows Journal is removed from the system.

How to undo the workaround:

To reinstall Windows Journal on Windows Vista or Windows 7 systems, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs.
  2. Click Turn Windows Features on or off and then check Tablet PC Optional Components (Windows Vista systems) or Tablet PC Components (Windows 7 systems).
  3. Click OK.
  • Deny access to Journal.exe
    To deny access to Journal.exe, enter the following commands at an administrative command prompt:

    > takeown.exe /f "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Journal\Journal.exe" 
    > icacls.exe "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Journal\Journal.exe" /deny everyone:(F)
    

Impact of workaround. Windows Journal becomes inaccessible.

How to undo the workaround:

To reinstate access to Journal.exe, enter the following commands at an administrative command prompt:

> icacls.exe "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Journal\Journal.exe" /remove:d everyone

Security Update Deployment

For Security Update Deployment information, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article referenced here in the Executive Summary.

Acknowledgments

Microsoft recognizes the efforts of those in the security community who help us protect customers through coordinated vulnerability disclosure. See Acknowledgments for more information.

Disclaimer

The information provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.

Revisions

  • V1.0 (May 12, 2015): Bulletin published.

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