Feeds

Patches bring zero-day relief from PDF and PowerPoint flaws

Phew

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?