Zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Office

Memory corruption

Favorite hackers' vulnerability for years has been exploited along with CVE-2012-1856, CVE-2015-1641, CVE-2015-1770 in an APT campaign against journalists and human rights workers in Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Vulnerability details

Advisory: SB2012081402 - Remote code execution in Windows Common Controls

Vulnerable component: Microsoft Office

CVE-ID: CVE-2012-1856

CVSSv3 score: CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H/E:H/RL:O/RC:C

CWE-ID: CWE-119 - Memory corruption


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

The weakness exists due to boundary error in MSCOMCTL.OCX ActiveX control. A remote attacker can create a specially crafted Web page that passes an overly long string argument, trick the victim into visiting it, trigger memory corruption and execute arbitrary code with privileges of the current user.

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

Note: the vulnerability was being actively exploited.

Known APT campaigns:

China-based group KeyBoy

KeyBoy is a threat actor believed to operate from China.

Firstly its malicious activity has been observed in summer 2016 in attacks targeting Tibetan Community. In the hacking campaigns not only against Tibet, but also Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Uyghur the group has been exploiting vulnerabilities CVE-2012-0158╨▒ CVE-2012-1856, CVE-2015-1641 and CVE-2015-1770.

Researchers for Trend Micro linked KeyBoy to Operation Tropic Trooper, campaign targeting Taiwan and the Philippines since 2012.