Email Attacks Feat Unpatched Microsoft Word Vulnerability

Microsoft Word hack

FireEye security researchers also said that they were aware of all these attacks that have exploited for several weeks and have synchronized disclosure with Microsoft.

The attack can be used to infect even a fully patched computer with malware, and it is believed to be effected in most - if not all - versions of Microsoft Word, and Windows 10 offers no protection.

Victims are drawn in by opening compromised Word documents sent to them via email that are loaded with the Dridex banking trojan, according to the blog. It exploits a flaw in Windows' Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), an important feature of Office, which lets users embed or link to other Office documents, like spreadsheets or charts. McAfee traced the attacks all the way to late January.

Microsoft confirmed it is planning to fix the issue in a patch set to be released with its scheduled monthly update on Tuesday.

"Meanwhile we encourage customers to practise safe computing habits online, including exercising caution before opening unknown files and not downloading content from untrusted sources to avoid this type of issue". It's not yet known if the use of Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit prevents the malicious malware from working.

Ugandan academic charged for criticising president on Facebook
Asked what happens if, indeed, Nyanzi is found to be mentally unstable, Nicholas Opio said, court might send her for treatment. Nyanzi is within her constitutional rights and we are for an all-out legal battle with the state to defend her rights".

When contacted by eWEEK's Sean Michael Kerner, a Microsoft spokesperson said a patch was set to arrive on April 11.

When the user attempts to download the file, a malicious.hta file is pulled from the attacker's server, which then loads and executes malicious script. "Because of the widespread effectiveness and rapid weaponisation of this recent 0-day vulnerability, it is critical that users and organisations apply today's Microsoft patch as soon as possible", he says. In this case, it's a Word document that contains an embedded exploit.

"Note that while this campaign does not rely on sophisticated social engineering, the spoofed email domains and common practice of emailing digitized versions of documents make the lures fairly convincing", said Proofpoint, adding the scammers have targeted millions of people, mostly in Australian organizations. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take control of an affected system. If the user opens the file, a Visual Basic script is run. However, some users find Protected View noisome and disable it.

Unfortunately, turning off macros does not protect against this attack, as it uses a logical bug in Microsoft Office.

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