Microsoft warns of Word attacks

RTF-based exploits making the rounds, apply Nov. patch pronto, says MMPC

Hackers are exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Word to plant malware on Windows PCs, Microsoft said Tuesday.

The bug in Microsoft Word 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010 was patched Nov. 9 as part of Microsoft's monthly security update .

Word 2008 and 2011 for the Mac have also been patched, but Microsoft has not yet issued a fix for the same flaw in the older Word 2004. The circulating attacks affect only Windows versions of the suite, however.

According to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC), the group that investigates attack code and issues signature updates for the company's antivirus software, the first in-the-wild exploits were detected last week.

When Microsoft shipped the Word patch last month, it rated the bug as "1" on its exploitability index, meaning it believed a working attack would pop up within 30 days.

The attack uses a malicious RTF (Rich Text Format) file to generate a stack overflow in Word on Windows, said MMPC researcher Rodel Finones. Following a successful exploit, the attack code downloads and runs a Trojan horse on the compromised computer.

Finones said that the code "reliably exploits this [Word] vulnerability."

Last month, Microsoft rated the RTF vulnerability as "critical" in Word 2007 and 2010, but as "important" in all other affected versions.

At the time, outside researchers had put their bets on the bug as a hacker choice because users running Office 2007 or 2010 could be attacked if all they did was preview a specially-crafted RTF document in the Outlook e-mail client.

"Once a [malformed] message hits the Outlook preview pane, remote code can be executed. You should patch this right away," Jason Miller, the data and security team manager for Shavlik Technologies, said on the day Microsoft released the patch.

Finones urged users who have not yet installed the November patch to do so as soon as possible.

More information about the vulnerability can be found in the MS10-087 security bulletin.

The MS10-087 update can be downloaded and installed using Microsoft Update and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWordsecurity patches

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?