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Outlook ATTACH_BY_REF_ONLY File Execution

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Outlook ATTACH_BY_REF_ONLY File Execution



It has been discovered that certain e-mail message cause Outlook to create Windows shortcut-like attachments or messages within Outlook. Through specially crafted TNEF streams with certain MAPI attachment properties, it is possible to set a path name to files to be executed. When a user double clicks on such an attachment or message, Outlook will proceed to execute the file that is set by the path name value. These files can be local files, but also files stored remotely (on a file share, for example) can be used. Exploitation is limited by the fact that it is not possible for attackers to supply command line options.


  • Yorick Koster <yorick@akitasecurity.nl>




Module Options

To display the available options, load the module within the Metasploit console and run the commands 'show options' or 'show advanced':

msf > use exploit/windows/email/ms10_045_outlook_ref_only
msf exploit(ms10_045_outlook_ref_only) > show targets
msf exploit(ms10_045_outlook_ref_only) > set TARGET < target-id >
msf exploit(ms10_045_outlook_ref_only) > show options
    ...show and set options...
msf exploit(ms10_045_outlook_ref_only) > exploit

Time is precious, so I don’t want to do something manually that I can automate. Leveraging the Metasploit Framework when automating any task keeps us from having to re-create the wheel as we can use the existing libraries and focus our efforts where it matters.

– Jim O’Gorman | President, Offensive Security