IBM Support

Rational System Architect ActiveBar ActiveX Control Vulnerabilities

Flash (Alert)


There is a high risk security vulnerability with the ActiveBar ActiveX controls used by IBM Rational System Architect.


It is possible for an attacker to compromise the ActiveBar ActiveX controls (actbar.ocx and actbar2.ocx) used within Rational System Architect to execute arbitrary code by instantiating these controls from Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers (see CVE-2011-1207).
Known methods of exploiting the vulnerability in these controls include Save(), SaveLayoutchanges() and SaveMenuUsageData(). In ActiveBar1, an additional method – SetLayoutData() – has been identified to exploit the vulnerability.

For a remote attacker to exploit the vulnerability in System Architect releases the following must be accomplished:

  1. The user must have Rational System Architect installed on the machine.
    Important Note: Continuous use of System Architect is not required; the vulnerability attacks the ActiveX controls regardless of the use of Rational System Architect.
  2. Attacker needs to create malicious code that would exploit the ActiveX control. This code could be part of an attachment by means of e-mail or Web page.
  3. User must be persuaded to execute the attachment or follow a Web site link that contains the malicious code via a Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser.
  4. On Internet Zone the user must authorize the ActiveX popup dialog before it could be used.

As of 29 April 2011, IBM has not received any reports of customer issues related to this security vulnerability.
The vulnerability was reported to IBM by Secunia and discovered by a third-party researcher (reference number Secunia Advisory SA43399).

CVSS Scores:

Using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) v2, the security rating for this issue is:

CVSS Base Score: 10
CVSS Temporal Score: 7.4
CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined
Overall CVSS Score: 7.4

CVSS String: (AV:N/AC:L/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:C/E:U/RL:O/RC:C)

*The CVSS Environment Score is customer environment specific and will ultimately impact the Overall CVSS Score. Customers can evaluate the impact of this vulnerability in their environments by accessing the links in the “Related Information” section of this Flash.

There are two solutions to address the security vulnerability:
  1. Upgrade Rational System Architect
  2. Implement a workaround

Note: The product upgrade to the specified version should be implemented as soon as practical and your business needs dictate. IBM recommends applying the workaround as soon as possible, if an upgrade is not an option or will be done in the future.


IBM is removing the ActiveBar ActiveX components from Rational System Architect and is releasing fixes with the following versions:

Rational System Architect Software Version Available Fix Link to Fix Pack information
System Architect 11.4.x.x Upgrade to (eGA 29 April 2011) or later. Note that (eGA 25 March 2011) removed actbar2.ocx component, however, also removes actbar.ocx.. v11.4.0.3: 4029808
System Architect 11.3.x.x Upgrade to (eGA 29 April 2011) or later. Consider upgrade to or later. Note that will remove both actbar.ocx and actbar2.ocx. v11.3.1.4: 4029810
System Architect older than 11.3 Follow workaround steps described below. - -


Properly securing your Web browser to limit ActiveX controls can help avoid this issue. Limiting the ActiveX controls would both notify the user, and force the user to take some action to allow the ActiveX functionality.

Note: The Firefox browser does not support ActiveX controls.

Option #1 - Disable the use of the vulnerable ActiveX controls within Internet Explorer


This solution contains information about modifying the system registry. Before making any modifications to the Microsoft Registry Editor, it is strongly recommended that you make a backup of the existing registry. For more information describing how to back up the registry, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base article 256986

The vulnerable ActiveX controls can be disabled in Internet Explorer by setting the kill bit. Execute the following steps to disable the vulnerable ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer:
  1. Copy the attached reg file to the desktop.

    Ensure you are executing this file with the appropriate permissions required to modify the operating system registry.


    Note: The registry file contains the following entry (if you are not able to download the file above):

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{E4F874A0-56ED-11D0-9C43-00A0C90F29FC}]
    "Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{4932CEF4-2CAA-11D2-A165-0060081C43D9}]
    "Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

  2. Double-click the "ActBar_RegistryEntry.reg" file.

  3. You will be prompted with a dialog box as shown below:

    "Are you sure you want to add the information in <path> to the registry?"

    Click Yes

  4. You will be prompted with another dialog where it confirms the successful addition of entries into registry

    Click OK

More information about how to set the kill bit is available in Microsoft Support Document 240797.

Option #2 - Disable ActiveX

Disabling all ActiveX controls in the Internet Zone (or any zone used by an attacker) can prevent exploitation of this and other ActiveX vulnerabilities, although it might lead to usability issues with sites that might require it.

Important Note:

ActiveBar is a third-party control that may have been installed by other applications. If other applications are using ActiveBar, upgrading to System Architect or will not remove the ActiveX controls from the machine. In such cases, if you upgrade System Architect you must also implement a workaround. You should contact the appropriate vendor or vendors whose applications also use ActiveBar.

Related Information:

CVE: CVE-2011-1207 -

Secunia Research Advisory:

X-Force Vulnerability Database:

Complete CVSS v2 Guide:

CVSS On-line Calculator (version 2):

According to the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is an "industry open standard designed to convey vulnerability severity and help to determine urgency and priority of response." IBM PROVIDES THE CVSS SCORES "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. CUSTOMERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF ANY ACTUAL OR POTENTIAL SECURITY VULNERABILITY.

Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Software Development Rational System Architect XT General Information Windows

Document information

More support for: Rational System Architect
General Information

Software version: 11.3, 11.3.1,,,, 11.4,,,

Operating system(s): Windows

Reference #: 1497689

Modified date: 08 August 2015