Microsoft Windows winhlp32.exe buffer overflow

ms-win-winhlp32-bo (56560) The risk level is classified as HighHigh Risk


Microsoft Windows is vulnerable to a stack-based buffer overflow, caused by improper bounds checking by winhlp32.exe. By persuading a victim to open a specially-crafted .HLP file containing an overly long string in the fourth argument, a remote attacker could overflow a buffer and execute arbitrary code on the system or cause the application to crash.


Base Score: 9.3
  Access Vector: Network
  Access Complexity: Medium
  Authentication: None
  Confidentiality Impact: Complete
  Integrity Impact: Complete
  Availability Impact: Complete
Temporal Score: 8
  Exploitability: Proof-of-Concept
  Remediation Level: Unavailable
  Report Confidence: Uncorroborated


Gain Access


No remedy available as of September 1, 2014.


  • iSEC Security Research: It is possible to invoke winhlp32.exe from Internet Explorer 8,7,6 using VBScript.
  • Microsoft Web site: Microsoft Windows.
  • BID-38473: Microsoft Internet Explorer 'winhlp32.exe' 'MsgBox()' Stack-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
  • CVE-2010-0917: Stack-based buffer overflow in VBScript in Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4, XP SP2 and SP3, and Server 2003 SP2, when Internet Explorer is used, might allow user-assisted remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a long string in the fourth argument (aka helpfile argument) to the MsgBox function, leading to code execution when the F1 key is pressed, a different vulnerability than CVE-2010-0483.

Platforms Affected:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP3


Feb 26, 2010

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