Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

02:08 PM
Connect Directly

Researchers Report Vulnerability In Microsoft Office 2010

European researchers say they've discovered a flaw in Excel 2010, and another possible bug in Word 2010

Researchers at VUPEN Security in France say they found one of the first vulnerabilities in Microsoft's new Office Excel 2010 application, but have not yet officially reported it to Microsoft.

Chaouki Bekrar, CEO and director of research at VUPEN, says the flaw is a heap corruption vulnerability that, if exploited, would let an attacker run arbitrary code on the victim's machine and take over the machine once the user opened a specially crafted Office document. "We are currently verifying if the vulnerability affects previous versions of Office. What we have seen so far is that the vulnerable code is only present in Office 2010," Bekrar says.

VUPEN also has found a separate, potential bug in Word 2010. "But the analysis of this potential flaw to determine its exploitability is still ongoing," he says.

Even so, Bekrar says Office 2010 is much more secure than previous versions of the software. "What we can say after this research session is that Office 2010 is definitely more secure than previous Office versions. The use of new features like Office File Validation or Protected View makes the discovery and exploitation of vulnerabilities harder, but we managed to reliably execute arbitrary code via a specially crafted document," he says.

Jerry Bryant, group manager for response communications at Microsoft, says Microsoft is "aware" of the vulnerability discovery claim, but doesn't have the details to verify it. "To minimize risk to computer users, Microsoft continues to encourage responsible disclosure," Bryant says. "Reporting vulnerabilities directly to vendors helps ensure that customers receive comprehensive, high-quality updates before cybercriminals learn of -- and work to exploit -- a vulnerability. While there are many ways to protect customers from attacks, the creators of the product are in the best position to understand the general risk to the broader customer base and create updates to the product or service that protect everyone.

"Vulnerability-sharing programs that do not include the software vendor are risky programs and do not promote overall customer safety," he says.

So why didn't VUPEN alert Microsoft about the bug in Office 2010? Berkrar says VUPEN alerted its VUPEN Threat Protection Program customers, and it's still determining whether the bug affects older versions of Office. "Discovering and researching this vulnerability was a long process and an important investment for VUPEN, so accepting just to get our names in the credit section of a Microsoft advisory as a compensation for this huge research work is not enough," Bekrar says.

But VUPEN says Microsoft will "be informed at a later date" about the bug, he says. A link to VUPEN's public disclosure is here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1 allows Local File Inclusion (LFI), a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-15931. This leads to unauthenticated code execution.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Cacti through 1.2.7 is affected by multiple instances of lib/functions.php unsafe deserialization of user-controlled data to populate arrays. An authenticated attacker could use this to influence object data values and control actions taken by Cacti or potentially cause memory corruption in the PHP ...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An issue was discovered in Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1. An flaw in the encryption implementation exists, allowing for all encrypted data stored within the database to be decrypted.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
A reflected XSS issue was discovered in DAViCal through 1.1.8. It echoes the action parameter without encoding. If a user visits an attacker-supplied link, the attacker can view all data the attacked user can view, as well as perform all actions in the name of the user. If the user is an administrat...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
The Scoutnet Kalender plugin 1.1.0 for WordPress allows XSS.