Hackers exploit security hole in Excel

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 10:38 PM | 0 comments »

Microsoft says hackers have found a way to use some older versions of its Excel spreadsheet program to take over control of people's computers.

The software giant said late today it was investigating reports of such attacks, but had not yet determined whether it would patch the hole, or when.

People who open a specially crafted Excel file from an email attachment or visit a compromised website could be inviting hackers to take over their PCs for malicious purposes such as stealing passwords and other personal information, or sending out spam.

Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Service Pack 2, Excel Viewer 2003, Excel 2002, Excel 2000 and Excel 2004 for Mac all contain the security hole.

The software maker said in a statement that users of those programs could protect their computers by using a tool that scanned the files for bad code before opening, called Microsoft Office Isolated Conversion Environment.

The most recent versions of the spreadsheet program, Excel 2007, Excel 2007 SP 1 and Excel 2008 for Mac, were not thought to be affected, Microsoft said.