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Installing Office XP or Visual Studio makes System Vulnerable

August 20th 2005

New flaw found in IE when Office XP or Visual Studio is installed

Internet Explorer

A new security hole in Windows XP was reported on Wednesday by the French Security Incident Response Team (FrSIRT).  A file called Msdds.dll (Microsoft DDS Library Shape Control file) is put into the hard drive when Visual Studio 2002 or certain Microsoft (MS) Office XP products are installed. 

Visual Studio is a developers program and is unlikely to be installed on most computers.  Those systems with Visual Studio Service pack 1 installed are not vulnerable. Some experts believe the file is not installed automatically during the standard MS Office Setup.  Neither Microsoft nor FrSIRT could say whether this file was installed by default with Office or Visual Studio.

Internet Explorer (IE) inappropriately lets web sites run other pieces of MS software on a computer.  Because the newly discovered flaw is exploited by visiting a malicious website, it is not considered as dangerous as the recent Plug and Play worms.   A patch release this last week fixed the Plug and Play worm problem.


Attackers can develop a malicious website that allows them to take control of a computer when a visitor happens to land on the site.  The attacker could install a key-logger or other malware. This is a critical flaw and is classified as serious.

It appears that attackers are using Internet Explorer rather than e-mail to seize control of computer systems nowadays.  It is not clear whether the popular Firefox or Opera browsers are vulnerable.  Most people use IE and many worms and hacks are developed to take advantage of IE holes. 

Microsoft plans on fixing this problem in an upcoming security patch.  This could come in the next security release on the first Tuesday of next month.  Updates are usually release the first Tuesday of every month.


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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  fire fox fire-fox vitual keylogger keyloggers malaware mal-ware vulnarable

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:45 PM