We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Critical Excel fix coming next week

Microsoft to release 8 updates on Patch Tuesday

Microsoft plans to release eight updates next week, including a likely fix for an Excel bug that has been used by cybercriminals.

Five of the fixes are for Windows, with a single update each for Internet Explorer, Excel and Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) server.

The Excel update is noteworthy because Microsoft's spreadsheet software has recently been used in a small number of targeted attacks. By tricking users into opening a specially crafted Excel file, criminals can install their malicious software on a victim's machine, Microsoft said. The software vendor has not said for certain whether it will patch this particular Excel flaw next week, but it seems likely.

Microsoft has also warned of a similar flaw in its PowerPoint software, which is also being used in attacks, but no PowerPoint updates are currently scheduled.

"We were hoping to see an update to handle the PowerPoint .pps exploit seeing as this is the hottest Office issue running wild, but from what we can tell at this point, the issue won't be addressed this month," security vendor Lumension said.

Microsoft rates the IE and Excel fixes as critical, along with three of the Windows updates, meaning a hacker could take advantage of the flaws they patch to run unauthorised software on a PC. The ISA patch is rated important; an attacker could use this bug to crash a system. And the other two Windows flaws could be used to elevate privileges to gain access to unauthorised resources on the PC, Microsoft said.

Microsoft released some details of next week's patches on its website on Thursday.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

See the festive spots creative companies have released for Christmas

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad