Microsoft Corporation on Tuesday announced an emergency patch for a memory corruption vulnerability in its Microsoft Malware Protection Engine (MMPE) that remote attackers can exploit to execute arbitrary code in the security context of the highly privileged LocalSystem account.

Abusing the vulnerability in this way would grant malicious actors the power to install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights, Microsoft warns in a Mar. 3 security update.

Designated CVE-2018-0986, the flaw can be exploited if the MMPE scans a specially crafted file, delivered via websites, email messages or an Instant Messenger communication. Typically, the Engine is configured to scan files automatically in real-time; otherwise, it performs schedules scans periodically.

Multiple products are affected, including Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and 2016, Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, and Windows Defender across a wide variety of platforms.

Admins and users need not take action to download this patch, as the MMPE features a built-in mechanism that automatically detects and deploys updates within 48 hours.