12:37 PM

Mac Users Face Office Update Bugs, Flashback Variants

Microsoft removes an automated update for Office for Mac 2011 after users report corrupted Mac Outlook settings, and a new version of Flashback malware surfaces.

Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft has temporarily stopped issuing its most recent, automatic update for Office for Mac 2011, after some users reported that the update had corrupted or deleted their Outlook for Mac data. "Our goal is provide the simplest update experience for everyone--so we have temporarily stopped pushing out the SP2 update through Microsoft AutoUpdate while we investigate the issue," the company said in a blog post.

Microsoft had begun pushing the service pack 2 (SP2) update via its Apple OS X AutoUpdate software on April 12. But Friday, the company acknowledged that "a small percentage" of users were reporting that the update had created problems with their Outlook for Mac database, as well as this error message: "Please upgrade the Office database."

Although the automatic update has been suspended indefinitely, Office for Mac 2011 users still can download and install the SP2 update. But Microsoft has cautioned against doing so, at least without first using one of the two workarounds that the company has published to address the database issue, both of which involve rebuilding the Outlook database.

[ Better coding can protect against attacks, too. See Schwartz On Security: Secure Coding Or Bust. ]

Some users on Microsoft's Office for Mac site, however, are reporting that even with the workarounds, they're still not able to use Outlook. "This update is TERRIBLE. I did the update and now my text-only emails take 1-2 minutes to send and my emails with attachments fail altogether," said a poster who listed his name as Andrew. "I've rebuilt the database following the instructions, and [get] the same result."

A post from "Steve" said that the update had led to poorly managed network connections. "It appears that this update has made worse a problem that has plagued others--namely, that Outlook maintains a constant connection to Exchange (2007) and chews up nearly all available network bandwidth. This is seen within corporate networks as well as [for] remote [users]. Basically, it renders Outlook nearly useless as one has to terminate Outlook in order to do any other work."

Other users of the SP2 update have reported lost contacts, no longer being able to use right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, broken Gmail IMAP connections, and inappropriate levels of CPU usage by Outlook.

In other bug-related Mac news, security software vendor Intego Monday said that it's seen a new version of the Flashback malware appear. Dubbed Flashback.S, the malware continues to target the Java vulnerability that Apple patched earlier this month.

If Flashback.S encounters an Apple OS X machine with the vulnerability, the Java applet can install itself automatically, no administrator-level password required. At that point, the applet installs multiple malicious files, then erases itself to help avoid detection. As with the previous version of Flashback, however, the malware won't attempt to install any malicious files--and in fact will immediately delete itself--if it detects the presence of Xcode, Little Snitch, or Mac antivirus software from one of a number of vendors.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey to gauge the state of enterprise data centers in 2012. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an 32-GB Apple iPod Touch. Take our State Of The Data Center Survey now. Survey ends April 27.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
E-Commerce Security: What Every Enterprise Needs to Know
The mainstream use of EMV smartcards in the US has experts predicting an increase in online fraud. Organizations will need to look at new tools and processes for building better breach detection and response capabilities.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio