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Threat LevelLow threatDamageHighDistributionNot widespread


MS10-056 is not categorized as virus, worm, Trojan or backdoor. It is a group of critical vulnerabilities in Office Word, which allows arbitrary code to be remotely executed in the vulnerable computer.

The affected versions are:

  • Word 2007/2003/2002.
  • Office 2008/2004 for Mac.
  • Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.
  • Word Viewer.
  • Works 9.
  • Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.


The addressed vulnerabilities are:

  • Word Record Parsing vulnerability: it is due to the way that Word handles malformed records inside a specially crafted Word file.
  • Word RTF Parsing Engine Memory Corruption vulnerability: it occurs because Word does not perform sufficient data validation when handling rich text data.
  • Word RTF Parsing Buffer Overflow vulnerability: it occurs because Word does not perform sufficient data validation when handling rich text data.
  • Word HTML Linked Objects Memory Corruption vulnerability: it is due to the way that Word handles a specially crafted Word file that includes a malformed record.

If exploited successfully, it allows hackers to gain remote control of the affected computer with the same privileges as the logged-on user. If this user had administrator rights, the hacker could take complete control of the system: create, modify or delete files, install programs, create new user accounts, etc.

It is exploited by creating a specially crafted Word file and sending it via email or hosting it in a website and convincing users to open it.


If you have any of the vulnerable Office components installed on your computer, it is recommended to download and apply the security patch for this vulnerability. Click here to access the web page for downloading the patch.

Bear in mind that MS10-056 replaces several previous bulletins, called MS09-027, MS09-068 and MS10-036, depending on the versions.