Feeds

French MoD questions OpenOffice security

Quit your sniggering Microsoft

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The French Ministry of Defense has reportedly raised a red flag on OpenOffice, saying the open source desktop suite is less secure than Microsoft's product.

A classified report by the ministry into OpenOffice has apparently concluded the suite is more susceptible to attack from macros than Microsoft Office.

Details of the report are scarce, but one sticking point appears to be the fact OpenOffice - unlike Microsoft's Office - does not bombard the end-user with warnings before opening a macro. At least one vulnerability uncovered in OpenOffice - fixed in a patch released this month - saw some macros invoked even after the end-user had disabled the function.

Publication of the report comes as OpenOffice sees growing use in government circles across Europe as an alternative to Microsoft's Office. Recent converts in France include the Direction Generale des Impots - rolling out OpenOffice to 80,000 clients ripping out Office 97 - and the French gendarmerie with 104,275 personnel.

The report is unlikely to dampen enthusiasm for OpenOffice and will no-doubt be brushed aside by supporters of the suite as something the community can fix. Indeed, the MoD is expected to present its findings to OpenOffice.org.

Supporters will also, rightly, point to the shameful security record of Microsoft Office. Malware writers have gone beyond just Outlook to crack open Word, Excel and PowerPoint as a means to gain control of users' PCs.

That said, you can be sure the existence of the report will be seized upon by critics of OpenOffice and open source as proof "we told you so." Furthermore, you can expect a slow uptick in numbers of exploits. The Stardust poof of concept virus was recently written to exploit macros in Sun Microsystems's StarOffice, anchored on OpenOffice, but can be modified for OpenOffice 2.0.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.