By Lisa Vaas
December 13, 2007
Attackers are going after Microsoft Office Access databases, US-CERT
warned earlier in the week, taking advantage of an unpatched stack
buffer overflow to deliver malicious databases that are leading to
system hijacking in an undetermined number of cases.
Security researchers didn't have many details on the attacks, but
US-CERT's advisory did say that users don't have to do anything beyond
open a rigged Access database in order for a successful exploit to be
sprung on them. The malicious files are of file type .MDB.
McAfee's Avert Labs said in a Dec. 12 posting that attacks could come
via a number of vectors: via the Web, e-mail or instant messaging,
"coupled with well-establishing social engineering techniques" to trick
victims into launching an attachment that's been booby trapped.
US-CERT is recommending that, in lieu of a patch, users take these
* Avoid opening attachments from people they don't know or trust or that
they haven't solicited.
* Block high-risk file attachments at e-mail gateways.
Microsoft Director of Security Response Mark Miller said in a statement
that, "Microsoft is aware of public reports of a malicious Microsoft
Access Database file being used to compromise users," though he didn't
provide information on how widespread the attack is at this point.
The file type in question.MDBis considered unsafe, Miller noted, since
it's one of multiple file types that allow embedded script operations.
Macros in Word files (*.doc) or in Excel files (*.xls) are other
examples of file types that can be risky because of their
less-than-obvious leniency on embedded scripts, according to this
Microsoft support page on unsafe file types.
.MDB was used by Access Database versions up until 2003 and is either
blocked by some Microsoft applications or provokes warnings before users
can open such files, Miller said in his statement.
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