Third exploit for Word released

Third exploit for Word released
Third exploit for Word released 

By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
December 13, 2006

Hackers have released attack code that exploits a critical vulnerability 
in Microsoft's Word software -- the third such bug to be disclosed in 
the past week.

The proof of concept code was posted Tuesday on the Web 
site, making it widely available to the hacking community. It exploits a 
previously unreported bug in Word.

Like the other recent Word bugs disclosed this past week, it could be 
used by attackers to run unauthorized software on a victim's computer, 
said David Marcus, security research and communications manager with 
McAfee Inc.'s Avert Labs

Attackers have been using these Word exploits in extremely targeted 
attacks, where a small number of victims are sent an e-mail with a 
maliciously encoded Word document attached. The hackers use social 
engineering techniques to try to trick the victim into opening the 
dangerous attachment.

For example, in a recent Word attack, first reported Sunday, the 
malicious e-mail "was sent to a very high-profile company, directly to 
three people at the company," Marcus said.

Microsoft is investigating reports of this latest Word bug, a spokesman 
for the company's public relations agency said.

Though they are not being widely exploited, the unpatched Word 
vulnerabilities are causing some enterprises concern.

At the Port of Seattle, for example, users are being cautioned and 
e-mail with Word attachments is getting a little more scrutiny, said 
Ernie Hayden, chief information security manager with the port. "We've 
done some blocking on our e-mail, and we've had dialogue with people 
with respect to what our expectations are," he said.

Attacks on Microsoft's Office software have been on the rise for months 
now, said Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer with security vendor 
eEye Digital Security Inc. Office vulnerabilities were once released "on 
a monthly basis," he said. "Now we're at the point were it's almost 

Still, publishing attack code ultimately works contrary to the interests 
of the bad guys, he added. "It's kind of disruptive, and it creates a 
panic," he said. "But all it does is make the industry focus and come up 
with a resolution."

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