Security Bulletin: Rational Rhapsody for Windows Blueberry FlashBack ActiveX Control vulnerabilities (CVE-2011-1388, CVE-2011-1391, CVE-2011-1392)

Flash (Alert)


There are multiple high risk security vulnerabilities with the Blueberry FlashBack ActiveX control shipped by IBM Rational Rhapsody for Windows V7.6 and earlier versions. Problem occurs outside Rhapsody when control is invoked as ActiveX by Microsoft Internet Explorer.



CVE IDs: CVE-2011-1388, CVE-2011-1391, CVE-2011-1392

DESCRIPTION: It is possible for an attacker to compromise the Blueberry FlashBack ActiveX control ("BB FlashBack Recorder.dll") used within Rational Rhapsody for Windows to remotely execute arbitrary code by instantiating this control from Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browsers. Known methods of exploiting the vulnerabilities in this control include Start(), PauseAndSave(), InsertMarker(), InsertSoundToFBRAtMarker() and TestCompatibilityRecordMode(). For a remote attacker to exploit these vulnerabilities in Rhapsody releases, the following must be accomplished:

  1. The user must have Rational Rhapsody installed on the machine.
    • Important Note: Continuous use of Rhapsody is not required; the vulnerabilities may be exploited against the ActiveX control regardless of the use of the product.
  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 a Web page.
  3. User must be persuaded to execute the attachment or follow a Web site link that contains the malicious code via the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser.
  4. On Internet Zone, the user must authorize the ActiveX pop-up dialog before it could be used.
  5. As of December 21, 2011, IBM has not received any reports of customer issues related to these security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities were reported to IBM by the TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) and discovered by a third-party researcher.

These vulnerabilities were discovered by Andrea Micalizzi aka rgod, working with TippingPoint's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI).


Using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) v2, the security rating for all of these issues is:

CVSS Base Score: 9.3

CVSS Temporal Score: See the corresponding X-Force reference for each

CVE for the current score:

CVE-2011-1388 -

CVE-2011-1391 -

CVE-2011-1392 -

CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined

CVSS String: (AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:C)


  • Rational Rhapsody for Windows V7.5.x
  • Rational Rhapsody for Windows V7.6


The recommended solution is to apply the upgrade to Rhapsody V7.6.1 as soon as practical. Or apply the workaround as soon as possible, if an upgrade is not an option or will be done in the future.


Upgrade to the latest version of Rational Rhapsody (V7.6.1) available from


    Option #1 - Disable the use of the vulnerable ActiveX control within Internet Explorer .
    Option #2
    - Disable ActiveXProperly 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 control within Internet Explorer Disclaimer 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 control can be disabled in Internet Explorer by setting the kill bit. Execute the following steps to disable the vulnerable ActiveX control in Internet Explorer:

  1. Copy the attached reg file at the end of this document 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 at end of document):

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{A3CD4BF9-EC17-47A4-833C-50A324D6FF35}]
    "Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ActiveX Compatibility\{A3CD4BF9-EC17-47A4-833C-50A324D6FF35}]
    "Compatibility Flags"=dword:00000400
  2. Double-click the "CFM kill-bit.reg" file.
  3. You will be prompted with a dialog box asking: "Are you sure you want to add the information in <path> to the registry?"
  4. Click Yes
  5. You will be prompted with another dialog where it confirms the successful addition of entries into registry
  6. 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.


None known, apply fixes.

Important Note: FlashBack is a third-party control that may have been installed by other applications. If other applications are using FlashBack, you must also implement the workaround. You should contact the appropriate vendor or vendors whose applications also use FlashBack.


*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 Reference section of this Flash.

Note: 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.


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