Home Security McAfee jumps the gun on Microsoft Word zero-day

McAfee jumps the gun on Microsoft Word zero-day

McAfee Security has jumped the gun on disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word that the security company FireEye was discussing with Microsoft and awaiting release of a patch before divulging details.

The McAfee blog carried details of the bug on Friday.

Thereafter, FireEye posted details itself on 8 April, saying: "FireEye shared the details of the vulnerability with Microsoft and has been co-ordinating for several weeks public disclosure timed with the release of a patch by Microsoft to address the vulnerability.

"After recent public disclosure by another company, this blog serves to acknowledge FireEye’s awareness and coverage of these attacks."

The bug in question allows a malicious Word document containing an OLE2link object to be executed by a system running even Windows 10. On execution, a malicious .hta file is fetched from a command server and run on the machine in question.

FireEye said: "In both observed documents the malicious script terminated the winword.exe process, downloaded additional payload(s), and loaded a decoy document for the user to see. The original winword.exe process is terminated in order to hide a user prompt generated by the OLE2link."

McAfee said in its post of 7 April that "the samples we have detected are organised as Word files (more specially, RTF files with '.doc' extension name).

"The exploit works on all Microsoft Office versions, including the latest Office 2016 running on Windows 10. The earliest attack we have seen dates to late January."

McAfee wants privacy block disabled.

As can be seen from the screenshot embedded above, the Intel-owned McAfee''s blog post requires privacy protection to be disabled in order that a user can read the Web page.

Microsoft is due to release its next batch of security updates on Tuesday, 11 April, US time.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.