Zero-day attacks continue to hit Microsoft software; PowerPoint for Mac OS X affected

“Microsoft issued a rare, out-of-cycle Windows patch on Tuesday that fixed one flaw, but attacks through other known, yet-to-be-plugged holes continue,” Joris Evers reports for CNET News.

“Microsoft on Wednesday warned of ‘limited zero-day attacks’ that exploit a new flaw in PowerPoint, Microsoft’s widely used presentation tool. For the attack to be carried out, a user must first open a malicious PowerPoint file attached to an e-mail or otherwise provided to them by an attacker, Microsoft said in a security advisory,” Evers reports.

“‘This issue can allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable computer,’ Symantec said in an alert sent to customers. The flaw affects PowerPoint in Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003 on Windows and Apple Computer’s Mac OS X, it said. Attacks appear to be aimed at specific targets, Symantec said,” Evers reports.

“For temporary protection against PowerPoint attacks, Microsoft suggests keeping security software up-to-date and not opening presentations files from untrusted sources,” Evers reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Mac users should try Apple’s Keynote instead. It’s better than PowerPoint, makes more interesting presentations that stand out above the ubiquitous PowerPoint dreck, and it’s safer. Avoid Microsoft products whenever possible and you’ll enjoy your Mac even more.

Related article:
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003


  1. hmmm….
    I’d like to know how the security flaw in MS Powerpoint actually works on an OS X Mac and whether it *really allows a remote attacker to compromise said machine.

    The inclusion of Apple Mac OS X in the “this affects….” list seems fishy to me.

  2. Will using Keynote protect you? The article says that opening emailed PowerPoint slides from others is the vulnerability. I doubt Keynote is able to open all types of PowerPoint slides w/100% compatibility, so if I were to purchase Keynote, wouldn’t I still need to keep PowerPoint around to open some files properly?

  3. I’m with 7over, I’m skeptical about this report. Wouldn’t OS X protect you by requiring an admin password if you open a virus? Let’s remember that this is not a credible source–it’s Symantec.

  4. Keynote rulez!
    Haven’t used PP in over a year. Keynote is universal binary. I’ll look at PowerPoint again when they’ve gotten their act together.

    MW “act”, I swear I did not see the MW before I typed the post. Eerie!

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