There are many popular programs and systems produced by software giant Microsoft. From operating systems to word processing software, businesses use Microsoft’s software on a daily basis. Because of this widespread use, the software often comes under attack. One of the latest known attacks is on Vista, Lync and older versions of Office and Microsoft tackled this last month.
The early November security advisory noted that hackers are actively attacking machines using Windows Vista and Lync, as well as Office 2003-2010 users. If attacks are successful, hackers gain the same access privileges as the user and are essentially able to control your system.
According to the blog post on Microsoft, “The exploit requires user interaction as the attack is disguised as an email requesting potential targets to open a specially crafted Word attachment. If the attachment is opened or previewed, it attempts to exploit the vulnerability using a malformed graphics image embedded in the document. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged on user.”
What this means, is the hacker is sending emails to users with a Microsoft Word document attached. This document contains an image that is broken and by exploiting the bit of code that displays the image, the hacker can gain access to your system.
As stated above, this exploit will only work on systems with Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2003-2010 and Windows Server 2008, and Lync. If you don’t use the specific versions of these, programs your systems are secure from this particular threat. The other good news about this particular vulnerability is that attacks are mostly limited to the Middle East and South East Asia. That being said, it is only a matter of time before businesses in Europe, Australia and North America are targeted.
Microsoft has released a security update for this fix, and users who have automatic updates enabled on Windows Vista should be secure from it. If you haven’t updated your easiest option is to:
While this will work to keep your individual systems secure, you may need to update your servers and other software. Your best bet would be to contact your IT partner to see how they can help ensure an update is installed correctly.
It is also be a good idea to put some preventative measures in place.
If you are looking to learn more about this security problem, how to secure your business or to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, please contact us today to see how we can help.