New Word attacks pose as news about Tibet

It's the usual drill, say security vendors, so be careful out there

New attacks using rigged Microsoft Word documents have been launched, a security company said Tuesday as it warned users to be leery of mail touting news about Tibet.

Phony e-mails purporting to contain news about Tibet and its government in exile are making the rounds, according to Trend Micro Inc., which explained that the messages carry attachments that are malformed Word documents designed to exploit a vulnerability in parsing the popular word processing system's file format.

When opened, the malicious documents deposit a Trojan horse on the victim's Windows PC, said Trend Micro in a post to its security blog.

Trend Micro said the names on the fake Word documents include the following:

  • CHINA';S [sic] OLYMPIC TORCH OUT OF TIBET 1.doc
  • 2007-07 DRAFT Tibetan MP London schedule.doc
  • DIRECTORY OF TIBET SUPPORT GROUPS IN INDIA.doc
  • Disapppeared [sic] in Tibet.doc
Another security firm, Symantec, confirmed the new attacks but said that it has received only "a small number" of submissions from customers regarding the exploit.

"This social engineering technique has been seen before," said Trend Micro researcher Jake Soriano on the TrendLabs Malware blog. "In October, a Trojan rode on the newsworthiness of the monk-led protests in Myanmar ... arriving as an attachment to spam [that] purported to be a message of support from the Dalai Lama to the monks."

Symantec repeated the long-standing advice that users consider banning Office documents that originate from unknown senders and exercise caution in dealing with unsolicited e-mails, particularly those with attachments.

Microsoft has patched Word several times in the past two years -- most recently in May 2007, when it holes in the way the application handles documents. The company has also been promoting its newest suites, Office 2007 for Windows and Office 2008 for Mac, as being more secure on the file format front than their predecessors, and it has locked down Office 2003 by limiting the number of formats users can open.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?