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Microsoft Word Potential Vulnerability
A new vulnerability was discovered that affects Microsoft Word. At the time of this writing, not much was being published on the issue, however, it is potentially very dangerous in that the feature it uses is on by default in Word and the malware is very hard to detect allowing it to slip through spam and virus filters.
Basically, Word has a feature that auto-updates links when when a document is first opened. If there are links in a Word document that access external resources like URLs, Word will automatically update them without any warning or prompt. During this procedure, the website that the link is pointing to can deliver a malicious payload to your computer.
The vulnerability can be mitigated by turning off this feature in Word:
- Open a Word document.
- Chose file.
- Chose Advanced.
- Under the General setting, there is a checkbox labeled “Update automatic links at open.” Make sure this is not checked.
For the majority of people, this change will have little to know effect on day to day operations.