Update: Microsoft patches up Office
A vulnerability in the software could allow attackers to gain control of a computer
IDG News Service - Microsoft today issued two security updates for its Windows and Office products, including a patch that fixes a number of critical vulnerabilities found in the Office suite.
In an advisory Microsoft said that its update fixes bugs in a variety of Office products, including Microsoft Office XP, Office 2003, Works Suite, and Office X for Mac. But the "critical" security rating -- Microsoft's most serious -- applies only to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook 2000, or Office 2000.
Office 2000 users could theoretically have their computers taken over if they clicked on maliciously encoded files, said Christopher Budd, a program manager with Microsoft's security response center. This would be harder to achieve with other Office products, however, because they would raise an additional dialog box before becoming compromised, he said.
According to the SANS Internet Storm Center, all but one of the six bugs listed by Microsoft have to do with Excel. The sixth vulnerability affects a range of Office applications.
All of the vulnerabilities "come down to the same issue," SANS said: "If you open a malformed file, an attacker could get control of the system."
Microsoft's second advisory covers a bug that could allow an attacker to change the privileges of services running on Windows. Though this problem has not been rated critical by Microsoft, it could be exploited to "take complete control of an affected system," Microsoft said in a separate security advisory.
The Windows bug affects users of Windows XP Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2003, meaning that users who have updated to the latest versions of these two products are not affected.
Microsoft was made aware of these "escalation of privilege" problems after Princeton University researchers published a paper last month illustrating how a number of popular applications could bypass security mechanisms in the Windows access control system, which determines what types of things users and applications are allowed to do on any given PC.
Microsoft started a "thorough investigation" of the problem after the researchers posted their paper, and discovered problems with six Windows services on the two platforms, Budd said.
To fix the problem, Microsoft's patch changes permissions for these six services within the Windows registry. "This security update does not lay down new binaries," he said. "This is basically a configuration change."
Both updates were released as part of Microsoft's monthly security patch process. The next such update is scheduled for April 11.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts