Feeds

Patches bring zero-day relief from PDF and PowerPoint flaws

Phew

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft has released a solitary bulletin that covers 14 vulnerabilities in PowerPoint, including a zero-day bug that has been the target of hacker exploitation over recent weeks, as part of its May Patch Tuesday update.

All versions of PowerPoint will need patching with the cumulative update, which earns Redmond's highest security rating of "critical".

Eric Schultze, CTO at patching firm Shavlik Technologies and a former manager at programme manager for the Microsoft Security Response Centre, commented: "The patches released today include versions of Powerpoint that weren't flagged as vulnerable to the zero-day as Microsoft also included fixes for 13 additional vulnerabilities that were privately reported.

"Some of these vulnerabilities impact the newer versions of Powerpoint that were not vulnerable to the 0-day. Included in today's release are patches for the Powerpoint viewer as well as the full version of Powerpoint."

Andrew Storms, Director of Security Operations for nCircle, added that the patch brings relief from zero-day flaws in Microsoft Office software for the first time in nearly two months.

"For the last two months users have been battling Microsoft office zero day attacks. The first set in February were in Microsoft Excel. The second set, announced on April 2nd, made users afraid of opening PowerPoint files," Storms said.

"Forty days from bug to bug fix is a decent turnaround for Microsoft given the vast number of Microsoft Office permutations that need to be quality tested."

The Internet Storm Centre's take on Microsoft patch can be found here. Microsoft's bulletin is here.

Separately Adobe released an update that defends Adobe Reader against another zero-day vulnerability. The flaw in Adobe Reader 9.1 and Acrobat has been the target of hacking attacks since last month and was, if anything, more dangerous than the 0-day PowerPoint flaw.

More details on the fix from Adobe can be found here.

Andrew Clarke, senior vice president at Lumension Security, notes that PDF files alongside Microsoft Office applications have become a leading vector for targeted attacks.

"Popular applications and files like Adobe PDF files or Word, Excel or PowerPoint files have been great vehicles for targeted attacks because those attachments are so socially acceptable and are simply expected attachments within corporate email," Clarke said.

Apart from fixes from Microsoft, Adobe and Apple other vendors including Google, F-Secure,, HP, Symantec and Mozilla have collectively released a slew of patches for popular software applications over recent days. Lumension Security summarises these non-Microsoft patches here. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?