Feeds

OpenOffice hits back at viral risk claims

Safe as houses

Seven Steps to Software Security

OpenOffice.org has hit back at claims that the alternative office applications suite is riddled with security holes. Researchers at the French Ministry of Defense say that OpenOffice is subject to security weaknesses that make it at least as susceptible to computer viruses as the commercial, more widely used, Microsoft Office.

The French research paper, entitled an In-depth analysis of the viral threats with OpenOffice.org documents (PDF), looked at four proof-of-concept viruses and a variety of attack scenarios before concluding that the "general security of OpenOffice is insufficient," IDG reports. Among the risks highlighted were the possibility of creating malicious macros targeting OpenOffice documents.

"The viral hazard attached to OpenOffice.org is at least as high as that for the Microsoft Office suite, and even higher when considering some... aspects," the researchers, information security specialists at the French Ministry of Defense's Signal Corps, said. Their paper is due to be published Paris-based Journal in Computer Virology.

Aside from making the obvious point that Microsoft Office is the frequent target of viral attack, unlike OpenOffice, the developers behind the open source desktop productivity suite say a software bug discovered by the French researchers has already been fixed. "The one real flaw in the programming logic has been fixed," Louis Suarez-Potts, an OpenOffice.org community manager, told IDG. "The others are theoretical."

Nonetheless OpenOffice.org has opened up a dialog with the French researchers with the aim of improving the overall security of the software suite. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.