Monday, 29 May, 2017

Zero-day Word exploit allows computers to be infected via e-mail attachments

Microsoft Word Affected by Critical Office Zero Day Vulnerability Reports McAfee Highlights New exploit works on all Microsoft Office versions Microsoft to release fix soon Mc Afee recommends enabling Office Protected View
Lucas Bell | 13 April, 2017, 02:15

This is why the market is now teeming with a number of anti-virus and anti-malware software that promises to protect the users from malicious apps that may try and harm their computers. It works on all versions of Windows, even Windows 10, and, unlike most other Word exploits, it doesn't require Macros to be enabled. "Lastly, the incorporation of the zero day exploit in Dridex campaigns, in the eleventh hour, prior to patching demonstrates the dangers of disclosure, however accidental", it read.

IT Pro asked Microsoft whether it had seen evidence of the mass email campaign.

Sherrod DeGrippo, director of Emerging Threats for Proofpoint, said: "Threat actors continue to demonstrate their flexibility and adaptability, rapidly taking advantage of new means of infecting users".

"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", Proofpoint team states.

McAfee reported seeing instances of the bug in the wild, typically in attacks from March and April but occasionally as far back as November.

Microsoft has announced a patch for a flaw in Microsoft Word that allowed hackers to gain access to a victim's machine.

This Patch Tuesday bundle is also notable because it marks the end of support for Windows Vista, which will no longer receive security updates after this round of patches.

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In the meantime, McAfee has warned users not to open Microsoft Office files obtained from untrusted sources.

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.

"Thus, this is a logical bug, and gives the attackers the power to bypass any memory-based mitigations developed by Microsoft", the McAfee report said. OLE, which allows an application to embed other documents or objects, was used in 2014 by an advanced persistent threat group known as Sandworm to target government organizations and infrastructure providers in Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Always beware of phishing emails, spams, and clicking the malicious attachment. This document is actually a malicious HTML application in disguise.

In a blog post, the company explains that the vulnerability has something to do with what's called the Object Linking and Embedding aspect, which is basically how users can add hyperlinks to Word documents. You might even have to worry about your finances: Researchers have found that during tax season hackers send spam emails pretending to be from a "tax officer" with a fake tax refund form attached as a Word document, with malware embedded. "Microsoft Office users are recommended to apply the patch as soon as it is available", FireEye writes regarding what to do to combat the malware.

"According to our tests, this active attack can not bypass the Office Protected View, so we suggest everyone ensure that Office Protected View is enabled". He suggested that users enable Office Protected View.

Microsoft has been quick off the mark to release a patch for the vulnerability, which also affected Office 2016.

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