Microsoft discloses zero-day flaw, publishes quick fix

Attacks are under way using PowerPoint file, the company said

Microsoft has published a temporary fix for a new zero-day flaw that affects nearly all versions of Windows and is currently being exploited via PowerPoint.

The flaw affects all Windows releases except Windows Server 2003, the company wrote in an advisory Tuesday. It can be exploited if a user is coaxed into opening a malicious Office file containing an OLE (object linking and embedding) object. OLE can allow a user to edit a PowerPoint file from within a Word document, for example.

"At this time, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks that attempt to exploit the vulnerability through Microsoft PowerPoint," the company said.

A successful attacker would gain the same rights as a logged-in user and could put other programs on an infected computer. Microsoft said some attacks that compromise accounts without administrator rights may pose less of a risk.

The fix, which Microsoft calls the "OLE packager shim workaround," is for 32- and 64-bit versions of PowerPoint 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Microsoft said attacks could take place via email, with the attacker sending a potential victim a malicious file or by luring a person to a compromised website containing "specially crafted content."

"An attacker would have to persuade the targeted user to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a hyperlink that directs a web browser to the attacker-controlled website," Microsoft wrote.

The User Account Control feature in Windows will display a consent or elevation prompt during an attack, depending on the privileges of the user before the malicious file is run, Microsoft said. UAC is enabled by default on Vista and newer OSes.

Earlier this month, on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released eight security bulletins, which fixed three zero-day vulnerabilities at the same time, a rare occurrence.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchesMicrosoftsecurityExploits / vulnerabilities

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?