Microsoft alert on Excel vulnerability

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 17, 2008

Targeted exploitation of zero-day flaw seen in wild.

Microsoft has issued a security advisory on an unresolved vulnerability in its Excel software, which has been reported as a vector for targeted attacks in the wild.

Few details have emerged on the exact nature of the flaw, but it is known to affect several versions of Excel including the 2000, 2002, 2003 (SP2), and 2004 for Mac editions. More recent versions, including 2003 with SP3, 2007, and 2008 for Mac, are thought to be safe from the vulnerability. Systems subjected to attacks could risk allowing remote code execution and total system compromise.

The Microsoft advisory is here, with some comment from McAfee here. Secunia, which rates the issue as 'extremely critical', has a summary here.

Microsoft has advised anyone who suspects they may have been the victim of such an attack to report the incident to their local law enforcement agency.

While US citizens can report attacks to the FBI or the Internet Crime Complaint Center, the UK has not had a dedicated agency for cybercrime reporting and investigation since the former National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) became defunct in April 2006.

A petition has been set up to push for a new centralised agency to manage cybercrime reporting and investigation in the UK - the petition can be signed by any UK citizen before 29 February. Details are at Sophos here.

Posted on 17 January 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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