Security researcher uncovers two Office XP flaws

TWO NEW SECURITY flaws in Microsoft's Office XP productivity suite could be combined to allow attackers to take over a system, according to independent security researcher Georgi Guninski.

Guninski sent an advisory about the issues to security e-mail lists and posted it on his Web site Monday.

The first vulnerability, which affects Outlook XP, would allow an attacker to embed "active" content in an e-mail, he wrote. Active content contains both an object and a script. The content embedded in the e-mail would then execute when the e-mail is forwarded or replied to, wrote Guninski, who has uncovered a number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products in the past. The vulnerability could force a user to visit a Web page designated by the attacker, Guninski wrote.

The second security hole, which affects the spreadsheet component of Office XP, can be used in conjunction with the first vulnerability to place executable files in a user's start-up directory, which could lead to a takeover of the target machine, he wrote.

Guninski, who lives in Bulgaria, included sample code in his advisory to demonstrate how to exploit both vulnerabilities.

Guninski wrote that he notified Microsoft of the bugs on March 17, but that the company did not produce a patch in two weeks, triggering his advisory. In the past, Microsoft has criticized Guninski for releasing his vulnerability data too quickly, calling his actions "irresponsible."

News source: InfoWorld.com

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