Microsoft Word is the latest frontier for hackers

Dive Brief:

  • Microsoft Word is shaping up as the latest frontier against hackers who would install malware on even protected computers.
  • A previously undisclosed vulnerability in the popular word processing software triggers malware downloads when users open a document, meaning the malware skirts the macros detection security features, Campus Technology reports.
  • Researchers say the Windows Object Linking and Embedding function is to blame for the vulnerability, as it has been to several past vulnerabilities discovered. All versions of Microsoft Office are susceptible to the attacks.

Dive Insight:

Campus CIOs have their work cut out for them if Microsoft Word is under attack, since virtually every staff member, faculty member, administrator and student on campus uses the software several times daily. Since there is no patch or easy way to detect the corrupted files, one alternative might be encouraging the campus community to lean more heavily on Web-based applications, such as those found in Google Drive. 

With the advent of the internet of things and the proliferation of devices on campus, managing security threats across the entire network is an increasingly difficult undertaking. But just as with any vulnerability, awareness and communication are key. Antivirus and anti-malware software should be up-to-date, and users should be urged to run daily scans. 

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology