OpenOffice bug hits multiple operating systems

OpenOffice bug hits multiple operating systems

Summary: A vulnerability in OpenOffice could allow attackers to remotely execute code on computers running Windows, Linux, or Mac OS

TOPICS: Security

Security experts have discovered TIFF-based buffer overflow vulnerabilities in that could allow attackers to remotely execute code on Linux, Windows or Apple Mac-based computers.

OpenOffice version 2.0.4 and prior are vulnerable to maliciously crafted TIFF files, which can be delivered in an email attachment, published on a website or shared using P2P software. The next version of OpenOffice (version 2.3) arrived on 17 September and is not affected by the flaw.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers at iDefense, who claim that the OpenOffice TIFF parsing code is flawed.

"When parsing the TIFF directory entries for certain tags, the parser uses untrusted values from the file to calculate the amount of memory to allocate. By providing specially crafted values, an integer overflow occurs in this calculation. This results in the allocation of a buffer of insufficient size, which in turn leads to a heap overflow," the iDefense team reported last Friday.

TrustDefender co-founder Andreas Baumhoff said: "This vulnerability allows someone to execute malicious code on your computer. It's an OpenOffice bug so it doesn't matter what type of operating system you run; it allows you to run malicious software with the same rights as the user who runs OpenOffice."

"At this stage, it's only confirmed on Linux," said Baumhoff. "But typically it would affect all operating systems. The only difference with Linux and Windows is that home users typically run Windows as the administrator."

In June, OpenOffice users were warned about a worm called "Badbunny" that was spreading in the wild through multiple operating systems, including Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

At the time, Symantec posted an advisory that said: "A new worm is being distributed within malicious OpenOffice documents. The worm can infect Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X systems. Be cautious when handling OpenOffice files from unknown sources".

Topic: Security

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • That's the result of popularity

    That's the result of popularity and all the anti-Microsoft campaigns.
    Firefox better than IE? OS X better than Windows? Linux better than anything? The more users installs an "alternate" product, the more "alternate" worms and viruses we'll see. One day Windows and MS Office may be the safest software.
  • Windows as the safest software.

    I have to agree as Linux becomes more popular it will become a larger target. But, all Linux distros I have used you have to be root to install new software and to make changes to the system. Whilst windoze is run as administer, by most users, allowing anything the hacker wants. The only way I can visualize windows being a safer alternative is for them to hold less than 1% of the installed base. I really think that is a pipe dream.