Microsoft zero-days seem to be happening so frequently, I’m running out of clever bon-mots to introduce these warnings. “What now?” I hear you ask. Users of Vista (Windows machines circa 2007) or Server 2008 (still in wide use everywhere) are affected by a vulnerability in versions of Microsoft Office 2003-2010. Let’s skip the gory technical details: this exploit uses a hacked image inserted into a Word document to run code that can lead to the victim’s computer being completely compromised and subject to remote control. Microsoft has not yet announced a patch for this vulnerability, but they have released a Fixit that can be run on the targeted machines to close the security hole.
What this means for you:
Security analysts are already seeing attacks utilizing this vulnerability in the wild in Asia and the Middle East, so it’s only a matter of time before victims start cropping up here in the US. If your Windows machine is running Vista, it’s highly likely you are also running a version of MS Office affected by this vulnerability. Run the Fixit immediately and consider upgrading your OS. If you have Microsoft-based servers in your environment and they are more than a year or two old, it’s highly likely they are running Server 2008, but less likely that Office is installed on the device. Your server administrator will know best how to handle this particular issue. As always, contact the sender to verify any unexpected attachments before opening them, make sure your computer is fully patched and protected by up-to-date antimalware, and double-check that your data is backed up, preferably to an offsite and fully encrypted location.