02 May 2012

Old Mac OS X Exploit Causes New Malware, Says Microsoft

Microsoft has revealed a new Mac OS X Office exploit that appears to be specifically targeting Snow Leopard and lower versions of the OS that haven’t been running the MS09-027 security update released in June 2009.

Targeting Microsoft Office 2004, Microsoft Office 2008, and Open XML File Format Converter software applications for Mac, the malware acts as a backdoor into the system by means of a remote code execution exploit.

“We can assume that this malware itself is targeting only Snow Leopard or lower versions of Mac OS X,” said Jeong Wook Oh of Microsoft's Malware Protection Center. “That means the attacker had knowledge about the target environment beforehand.”

Confirming that “this malware is not widespread,” Oh concludes that consumer usage of an operating system is the most important factor determining the number and frequency of attacks. Installing the latest patches and updates for all applications is the best way to prevent malware infestation.

“Statistically speaking, as this operating system gains in consumer usage, attacks on the platform will increase,” said Jeong Wook Oh. “Even though Mac OS X has introduced many mitigation technologies to reduce risk, your protection against security vulnerabilities has a direct correlation with updating installed applications.”