Feeds

MS issues eleventh hour Snapshot bug workaround

Rush to fix serious ActiveX flaw

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Microsoft has taken the unusual step of issuing a workaround for a new security bug involving Microsoft Office a day before its regular Patch Tuesday update.

Hacking attacks targeting a vulnerability in the Snapshot Viewer ActiveX control for Microsoft Access prompted Redmond's security gnomes to issue an advisory on Monday. The flaw affects the Snapshot Viewer in Microsoft Office Access 2000, 2002 and 2003. Snapshot Viewer displays summaries of Microsoft Office Access reports without requiring Access itself to be run.

Redmond said the flaw has become the focus of targeted attacks. Attack scenarios involve tricking users into visiting sites containing rogue ActiveX controls designed to exploit the vulnerability. If successful the approach would allow hackers to obtain the same rights as logged-on users to compromised machines.

Although Microsoft has not yet corrected the underlying vulnerability, it has several suggestions* on how to set a kill bit to disable an unwanted ActiveX control. Some of these involve preventing COM objects from running in Internet Explorer, or disabling scripting. The first of these means using the Registry Editor, where mistakes can really screw up your system, while the second might leave users unable to use many websites normally. Given these choices, less technically knowledgeable Windows users might do better to use either Firefox or Opera pending the availability of a patch, which Microsoft has begun to develop.

ActiveX controls are a perennial source of security problems which Microsoft plans to finally address in the bundle of security enhancements due to ship with IE8. The list of problems with the technology (frankly too long and painful to list here) goes back to the genesis of Internet Explorer or, to put it another way, a time when Billie Piper was best known as a companion of Chris Evans, rather than Doctor Who. ®

* Any time we see an advisory with three or four suggested workarounds instead of one, we can't help but think none of them work particularly well.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
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.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.