Microsoft just uncovered a vulnerability within Word, its popular word processing application, that could allow hackers to take control of your PC remotely. The company has made a fix available that you can apply to protect yourself from any threats originating from this security hole.
Microsoft says the vulnerability affects all “supported” versions of Word, and that it is aware of attacks on Word 2010 described as “limited.” Here’s how Microsoft describes the soft spot in Word’s armor.
“The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted RTF file using an affected version of Microsoft Word, or previews or opens a specially crafted RTF email message in Microsoft Outlook while using Microsoft Word as the email viewer. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.”
It’s worth noting that if you use Outlook, you’re also at risk, as Microsoft Word is the default email viewer for Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.
Microsoft also states that if you’re using an account that’s set up with fewer rights, the potential damage could be limited when compared with a compromised account with Administrator rights.
You can read about and apply Microsoft’s fix for this vulnerability here. You can also check out a list of which versions of Microsoft Word are affected here.