Security Experts:

Microsoft Removes Windows Journal Due to Security Flaws

Microsoft has decided to remove the Windows Journal application from its operating systems due to the discovery of several vulnerabilities that can be exploited through specially crafted Journal files.

Windows Journal is a note-taking application available in Windows versions from XP Tablet PC Edition through Windows 10. Notes and drawings created with the app are saved in .jnt files.

Over the past few years, researchers from various companies discovered roughly a dozen denial-of-service (DoS) and remote code execution vulnerabilities in Windows Journal.

The most recent issue was reported to Microsoft last month by Fortinet researcher Honggang Ren. The flaw identified by the expert is a heap overflow that can cause the application to crash. Fortinet published a blog post last week detailing the vulnerability.

Microsoft has not released a patch for the vulnerability found by the Fortinet researcher as it has decided to remove the component altogether. The update that removes Journal from Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 is KB3161102, which the company first announced last month.

“The file format that's used by Windows Journal (Journal Note File, or JNT) has been demonstrated to be susceptible to many security exploits,” Microsoft explained.

The company has advised customers to migrate to OneNote, but users who depend on Journal can install it separately after they apply KB3161102. Those who want to continue using the app will be shown a security alert whenever they attempt to open Journal Note (JNT) or Journal Template (JTP) files.

Two memory corruption vulnerabilities have been resolved in Journal this year, including CVE-2016-0182, reported independently by Jason Kratzer and Bingchang Liu, and CVE-2016-0038, discovered by Rohit Mothe.

Microsoft informed customers this month that it has addressed an Internet Explorer/Edge vulnerability exploited in the wild. Experts revealed that the flaw had been leveraged in major malvertising campaigns since at least 2014.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.