Unpatched Microsoft Word flaw affects Macs too

“Microsoft has warned of a serious – and as yet unpatched vulnerability – in Word. Hackers (albeit to a limited extent) are exploiting the zero-day flaw in its ubiquitous Office application, Redmond warns,” John Leyden reports for The Register.

Leyden reports, “The flaw – which stems from an unspecified memory corruption bug – doesn’t just affect Windows users. Microsoft Word 2000, Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Word Viewer 2003, Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac, and Microsoft Word 2004 v. X for Mac, along with Microsoft Works 2004, 2005, and 2006 are all potentially vulnerable. Users tricked into opening maliciously constructed Word files are liable to find their systems compromised.”

More info and links here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Chas” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Microsoft’s Security Advisory (929433 – almost time to add another digit there, M’Soft) states: “In order for this attack to be carried out, a user must first open a malicious Word file attached to an e-mail or otherwise provided to them by an attacker. As a best practice, users should always exercise extreme caution when opening unsolicited attachments from both known and unknown sources. Do not open or save Word files that you receive from untrusted sources or that you receive unexpectedly from trusted sources.

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

41 Comments

  1. I’m continually amazed at the number of websites (non-profits, govt, etc..) that have Word files rather than PDF files when you seek to download documents. I’m always wondering about the safety of these Word files.

  2. If you can never reach true perfection, ruin it for those that have…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN word: science – Microsoft has mastered the science of screwing up.

  3. Article notes:

    “Users tricked into opening maliciously constructed Word files are liable to find their systems compromised.”

    What sort of compromise? What happens to the Mac? How does it happen?

    Specific, detailed info from article authors and Microsoft would be much more helpful than this simple “boogeyman under the bed” warning.

    Niffy

  4. The only malware I’ve seen in my life was a harmless-to-Mac Microsoft Word 97 macro in a Word document sent to me by someone using Windows 98 in 2003-4. ClamXav took care of that. The only data I’ve ever lost in a crash was when Internet Explorer crashed on OS 8.6? If not for Microsoft innovation, my computers would have had a pristine record.

    MW: “years” as in nothing’s changed in Redmond.

  5. I have a rule that I implement for my PowerBook:

    DO NOT USE MICROSOFT SOFTWARE!

    Simple. And it works. Why waste 400MB+ on a word processor, spreadsheet and crap presenter? If you have to have Word compatability, use NeoOffice.

  6. MacDailyNews Note: …As a best practice, users should always exercise extreme caution when opening unsolicited attachments from both known and unknown sources. Do not open or save Word files that you receive from untrusted sources or that you receive unexpectedly from trusted sources.

    Yeah, that’s wonderful in theory. Those of us that receive upwards of 100 emails a day, spam excluded, from customers or people looking to submit press releases have to deal with reality though.

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