Exploit Wednesday arrives with new MS Word zero-day

Summary:Just 24 hours after Microsoft issued patches for critical holes in its Office suite, a brand-new Word zero-day attack is underway.

Just 24 hours after Microsoft issued patches for critical holes in its Office suite, a brand-new Word zero-day attack is underway.

Redmond issued a pre-patch advisory to acknowledge the vulnerability, which is being exploited to launch PC takeover attacks against users of Office 2000 and Microsoft Office XP.

The attacks are described as "very limited" and aimed at specific business targets.

"In order for this attack to be carried out, a user must first open a malicious Office file attached to an e-mail or otherwise provided to them by an attacker," Microsoft said.

The next patch batch isn't due until Tuesday, March 13th. In the meantime, the only advice from Microsoft is to be wary of Office files that arrive from untrusted sources.

Word .docs that arrive unexpectedly from work colleagues should also be viewed with suspicion.

Anti-virus vendor McAfee first flagged this issue on February 9 but, at the time, it was listed as a simple denial-of-service bug that crashed the word processing program.  In other words, a failed exploit attempt.  Further investigations have confirmed that code-execution is possible.

The original attack intercepted by McAfee was an attempt to drop a Trojan that opened a backdoor on the hijacked machine. 

Topics: Microsoft, Security, Software

About

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.