Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 SP3/5.5 SP2/6.0 ActiveX plugin.ocx load memory corruption

CVSS Meta Temp Score
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Current Exploit Price (≈)
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CTI Interest Score
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A vulnerability classified as critical has been found in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 SP3/5.5 SP2/6.0 (Web Browser). This affects the function load of the file plugin.ocx of the component ActiveX. The manipulation with an unknown input leads to a memory corruption vulnerability. CWE is classifying the issue as CWE-119. The product performs operations on a memory buffer, but it can read from or write to a memory location that is outside of the intended boundary of the buffer. This is going to have an impact on confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The summary by CVE is:

Heap-based buffer overflow in plugin.ocx for Internet Explorer 5.01, 5.5 and 6.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the Load() method, a different vulnerability than CVE-2003-0115.

The issue has been introduced in 11/08/1999. The weakness was published 04/23/2003 by Mark Litchfield with NGSSoftware as MS03-015 as confirmed bulletin (Technet). The advisory is shared at This vulnerability is uniquely identified as CVE-2003-0233 since 04/30/2003. It is possible to initiate the attack remotely. No form of authentication is needed for exploitation. It demands that the victim is doing some kind of user interaction. Technical details are known, but no exploit is available.

It is declared as proof-of-concept. The vulnerability was handled as a non-public zero-day exploit for at least 1262 days. During that time the estimated underground price was around $25k-$100k. The vulnerability scanner Nessus provides a plugin with the ID 10861 (MS02-005: MSIE 5.01 5.5 6.0 Cumulative Patch (890923)), which helps to determine the existence of the flaw in a target environment. It is assigned to the family Windows : Microsoft Bulletins.

Applying the patch MS03-015 is able to eliminate this problem. The bugfix is ready for download at Attack attempts may be identified with Snort ID 4189. In this case the pattern 06DD38D3-D187-11CF-A80D-00C04FD74AD8 is used for detection.

The vulnerability is also documented in the databases at X-Force (11854), Tenable (10861), SecurityFocus (BID 7420†), OSVDB (7739†) and Vulnerability Center (SBV-5353†).








CPE 2.3info

CPE 2.2info


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VulDB Meta Base Score: 6.3
VulDB Meta Temp Score: 5.7

VulDB Base Score: 6.3
VulDB Temp Score: 5.7
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Class: Memory corruption
CWE: CWE-119

Local: No
Remote: Yes

Availability: 🔍
Status: Proof-of-Concept

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Nessus ID: 10861
Nessus Name: MS02-005: MSIE 5.01 5.5 6.0 Cumulative Patch (890923)
Nessus File: 🔍
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OpenVAS ID: 10861
OpenVAS Name: IE 5.01 5.5 6.0 Cumulative patch (890923)
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Threat Intelligenceinfo

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Recommended: Patch
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Patch: MS03-015

Snort ID: 4189
Snort Message: WEB-ACTIVEX Third-Party Plugin ActiveX Object Access
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11/08/1999 🔍
04/23/2003 +1262 days 🔍
04/23/2003 +0 days 🔍
04/23/2003 +0 days 🔍
04/23/2003 +0 days 🔍
04/30/2003 +7 days 🔍
05/12/2003 +12 days 🔍
04/09/2004 +332 days 🔍
09/09/2004 +153 days 🔍
03/08/2021 +6024 days 🔍



Advisory: MS03-015
Researcher: Mark Litchfield
Organization: NGSSoftware
Status: Confirmed

CVE: CVE-2003-0233 (🔍)

X-Force: 11854 - Microsoft Internet Explorer plug-in.ocx Load method buffer overflow, High Risk
SecurityFocus: 7420 - Microsoft Internet Explorer Plugin.OCX Load() Method Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
OSVDB: 7739 - Microsoft IE plugin.ocx Load() Method Overflow
Vulnerability Center: 5353 - [MS03-015] Internet Explorer 5.01*, 5.5*, 6.0* Allows Code Execution via Load() Method, Medium


Created: 04/23/2003 02:00 AM
Updated: 03/08/2021 09:02 AM
Changes: 04/23/2003 02:00 AM (90), 05/07/2019 12:37 PM (10), 03/08/2021 09:02 AM (3)
Complete: 🔍
Cache ID: 44:C2C:40


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