Today we released the fix for CVE-2010-0816 in MS10-030. This vulnerability affects Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail. We recommend that you install the update as soon as possible, but realize that some customers may need to prioritize which updates they install first. While the vulnerability is rated critical, many customers may not be affected by it. This blog post should help you better understand the risk associated with this vulnerability.
Default installations of Windows 7 are not affected by this vulnerability because they do not include Windows Live Mail. Windows Live Mail is available as a free download for Windows 7, but is not included in the operating system by default.
- Attacker intercepts and manipulates a user’s POP3 or IMAP connection to a legitimate email server. (Man-in-the-middle attack)
- Attacker entices a user to connect to a malicious email server using either the POP3 or IMAP protocol
- It is not possible for an attacker to exploit this vulnerability by simply sending a malicious email.
- If you use an affected email program, but do not use POP3 or IMAP (e.g. you connect to an Exchange Server), you are not affected by this vulnerability, although we still recommend that you install the update
Attack vector details
The most likely attack vector involves an attacker attempting to intercept and modify legitimate POP3 or IMAP communications going across an untrusted network, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop. However, this attack would be less likely to succeed if those POP3 or IMAP sessions used SSL, an option available in your email account configuration if your server supports it.
- Malicious email server
A less likely attack vector involves an attacker convincing or forcing a user to connect to a malicious email server. Convincing a user to change their email client configuration to connect to a malicious email server would require significant social engineering, and so it is less likely to be successful. Forcing a user to connect to a malicious email server would require the attacker to be able to redirect the user’s connection attempt from a legitimate email server to a malicious one. However, to accomplish this attack, the attacker would either need access to the user’s local area network, or have some way to poison the DNS entry for the email server.
Summary of risk
|You only check email while connected to a trusted network connecting to a trusted email server||Low risk||Not affected||Not affected|
|You check email while connected to untrusted networks, such as public Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops||Significant risk||Not affected||Not affected|
Thanks to Andrew Roths, Damian Hasse, and Fermin J. Serna for their contributions to this blog post.
We hope you found this information helpful!
-Kevin Brown, MSRC Engineering
*Posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.*