Microsoft Excel Loophole Threatens the Security of 120 Million Users!

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A new loophole has been discovered in the popular Microsoft Excel application. It was found in the power query feature, and now poses a security threat to 120 million users.

Mimecast Services Ltd. researchers came across a method to abuse the feature to install malicious codes in a user’s device(s), by interacting with them infrequently, yet instantly.

For those who are unaware, the power query feature is a data connection technology Excel users have now been using for a good amount of 7 years.

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The feature allows Excel files to be combined, discovered, connected and handles data before being imported from remote sources i.e external link app with its own cloud, another spreadsheet, a text document, or web page.

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Now, with the discovery of this loophole, hackers use the power query to attack Excel spreadsheets through different malware that can easily compromise a user’s machine and data as soon as they access the compromised sheet.

The researcher states:

The feature gives such rich controls that it can be used to fingerprint a sandbox or a victim’s machine even before delivering any payloads. The attacker has potential pre-payload and pre-exploitation controls and could deliver a malicious payload to the victim while also making the file appear harmless to a sandbox or other security solutions.

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