~~Recently, there’s been news that Microsoft has found out that there have been zero-day attacks focused on a vulnerability on Microsoft Word 2010. It was originally spotted in Word 2010, but it also affects other versions, like Word 2003, 2007, 2013, 2013RT, Office for Mac, and Web apps. This happens when an attacker uses a malicious RTF file (or email in Outlook) configured to open with Microsoft Word as the email viewer. Because Word is set to be the default email viewer in Office 2007 through 2013, these are the most likely vulnerable to this threat. Microsoft has not released a path addressing this issue yet, but it has plans to do so by April 8th, which happens to coincide with the last day that they will be supporting Windows XP and Office 2003. Until then, there is a fix-it in their knowledge base, which they recommend people use until the patch is released. What the fix says is to disable opening RTF files with Word.
Wikipedia defines the term Zero-day attack as an “attack or threat…that exploits a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application, one that developers have had no time to address and patch.” In this case, Microsoft found out that this vulnerability was being exploited when it was reported by Office users, which means that Microsoft had no idea of this vulnerability until it was brought to their attention by users who had been already hacked. This exploit allows the hacker to have the same rights as the current user, meaning that if the user is logged in as an administrator, they hacker will have administrator’s rights as well. The attacker can then do as he/she pleases, delete data, uninstall programs, and even create other user accounts, without you knowing until it’s too late. Although there is no patch for this exploit yet, it is important to keep up with news regarding computer security and to apply any fixes regarding this vulnerability and to keep checking updates for all your computer software.
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