New MS Office causes anti-virus headache

Microsoft's latest Office 2003 beta version is set to cause problems for anti-virus (AV) companies because the XML-based format it supports will bog down scanning software, security experts told ZDNet Australia.

The dilemma revolves around macros embedded in Office 2003 documents. When saved as an XML file, the macros can more or less wind up anywhere. This means that scanners must search the entire contents of a file rather than indentifying where macros are normally positioned.

Although a simple solution has been put forward by the AV community, the software giant has yet to address the issue.

This change is fairly straightforward. The AV companies want a header placed into the file which tells the scanning engine where the macros are exactly located. In order to ensure that viruses don't slip through the cracks, Office applications should only run macros that are pointed to from the header.

News source: ZDNet Australia

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