Investigators at the Israeli company Check Point unveiled today (Tuesday) Four security vulnerabilities found in the Microsoft Office suite. These are applications that most Israelis use every day, including: Word, Excel, Outlook and more. Microsoft has released a version update that completes the fix for these vulnerabilities.
Attackers and cybercriminals have been able to exploit these vulnerabilities to inject malicious code into users by sending a standard office file, which includes the damage. Malicious code can lead to computer hijacking, file encryption (infidelity attack), data extraction, file reading and more – depending on the intrusion.
The source of the weaknesses in an old office component, which has existed since the days of Office 95 and is still active today, is called MSGraph. The component allows the display and construction of graphs that can be embedded in various office files, usually in Excel, Word and PowerPoint. The above component had four similar vulnerabilities, which would allow an attacker who uses them to insert damage within any office file he used.
This means that the attacker could have sent any office file within which this component exists to the victim, and the victim becomes vulnerable to the attack only by receiving the document and opening it. That is, unlike many other attacks in which opening a file does not in itself harm the victim unless it allows some software to run (for example by clicking on a link), here the attack only happens by opening a completely normal office file received by email or other message. “Due to the fact that this is an old component, we believe that these weaknesses have existed for many years,” the company said.
Check Point has updated Microsoft in detail and these have been fixed over the past few months in a process that ends today, in the monthly update that Microsoft releases. These are vulnerabilities that number: CVE-2021-31174, CVE-2021-31178, CVE-2021-31179, CVE-2021-31939
Important to note: Office users who do not download the latest windows update may be exposed to these vulnerabilities. At Check Point it is recommended to “always make sure that the computer you are using is up to date with the latest version updates (you can know this by clicking on Settings, Updates and Security, Version Updates).
Yaniv Belmes, director of the cyber research department at Check Point, who conducted the research with his team explained: “These weaknesses were relevant to all office products, hence their wide risk potential. Due to the fact that they are based on old code and a vulnerable provider. “
According to him, one such weak link is enough to damage the entire chain of the product. “We encourage all users of the popular Windows software to update to the latest Microsoft software updates to ensure that they are as protected as possible from such vulnerabilities,” he concluded.