Feeds

Hackers go after Excel

Poisoned spreadsheet peril

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft has warned that an unpatched vulnerability in older versions of Excel is being actively exploited by hackers.

The bug, which has become the subject of targeted attacks, affects older versions of Excel. Newer versions Excel 2003 SP3 and Excel 2007 are said to be immune. Details of the vulnerability beyond what packages might be affected remain sketchy at best.

Microsoft techies are investigating the flaw, which may become the topic of a future patch. In the meantime, Redmond is trying to play down concern by pointing out mitigating factors and suggesting defence. Its suggestion, however, that few hackers know about the bug rather misses the point that this hardly reduces the risk posed by targeted attacks against unpatched flaws.

"At this time, we are aware only of targeted attacks that attempt to use this vulnerability. Additionally, as the issue has not been publicly disclosed broadly, we believe the risk at this time to be limited," Microsoft's advisory explains.

Pending the availability of a fix, security clearing house US-CERT advises users of older versions of Excel to avoid opening unfamiliar or unexpected email attachments. Sys admins should review Microsoft's suggested workarounds, it adds. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.