Microsoft fills Excel, Windows, Word holes

Updated 12:30 p.m. PDT with ZoneAlarm discount offer and 11:50 a.m. PDT with comment from security vendors.

Microsoft on Tuesday closed security holes in Excel, Windows, and Word that had been exploited in the wild as well as other holes for which exploit code or details exist, all as part of its monthly patch update cycle.

The critical Excel hole could allow an attacker to take complete control of an unpatched system if a user opens a specially crafted Excel file. Security firm Symantec said in February that it had discovered malicious files in the wild … Read more

Microsoft to patch Excel hole, seven others

A correction was made to this story. See below for details.

Microsoft on Thursday said next week's Patch Tuesday would include eight patches, five of them critical, including one addressing a vulnerability in Excel.

A company representative declined to confirm whether the patch for its spreadsheet software addresses a vulnerability that has seen "zero-day attacks" which target unpatched security holes. But given the fact that both that Excel vulnerability and the Excel patch slated for Tuesday affect Microsoft Office 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007, as well as Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008 for the Mac, it could … Read more

Attack exploits unpatched Excel security hole

Attackers are attempting to exploit an unpatched security hole in Excel that could allow someone to take control of a compromised computer, Microsoft said in a security advisory on Tuesday.

The attack exploiting the Excel Unspecified Remote Code Execution Vulnerability requires a computer user to open an attachment sent via e-mail that has a maliciously crafted Excel document, according to the advisory.

Microsoft said it is working on a security fix to plug the hole and will release it after it has completed testing. In the meantime, Windows users are urged to avoid opening Office files from untrusted sources or … Read more

Keyboard shortcuts speed Word, Excel work

If you're familiar with keyboard shortcuts, you probably know that you can cycle through your open windows by pressing Alt-Tab. But you may not know that pressing Alt-Esc moves between your open windows in the order they were opened.

There are simply too many useful key combinations to remember, which is why I described how to create a keyboard-shortcut cheat sheet last April. Then a couple of months later I added key combinations for moving and resizing windows.

My shortcuts.txt file is getting overloaded, but it doesn't include any of the handy keystroke combos available in Word … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 911: Giggles per dollar

Nintendo is smashing the competition in game consoles and Rafe thinks he knows the reason why. The G/D ratio will probably become a new economic leading indicator. We also determine just how long you should wait for Windows 7. And by determine, I mean Rafe and I fight over it and I win. And what do you think of the Microsoft store?

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 911

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Sources: Windows 7 moving toward 2009 release http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10162609-56.html

New Windows … Read more

Quickoffice brings simple Excel editing to iPhone

Despite the addition of Microsoft Exchange and the App Store with version 2.0 of the iPhone's firmware, the device is still a long way from competing with Windows Mobile handsets when it comes to the native editing of several popular file formats. Mobile-productivity software company Quickoffice is trying to change that with a new iPhone application that lets users edit their Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets.

Called MobileFiles Pro, this $9.99 application can pull in Excel workbooks from any of your computers (over Wi-Fi) or on the Web through MobileMe's iDisk sharing. It supports editing over multiple … Read more

Microsoft fixes 28 flaws; 6 are critical

Microsoft on Tuesday released its December 2008 security bulletin. The "critical" bulletins affect Windows GDI, Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and Windows Search. The "important" updates affect SharePoint and Windows Media Components.

Microsoft is including within each bulletin an "exploitability index" to help system administrators prioritize the patches. All Microsoft security patches for both Windows and Office software are available via Microsoft Update or via the individual bulletins detailed below.

MS08-070: Critical

Exploitability index: 1-2. Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update immediately. Titled "Vulnerabilities in Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files (ActiveX … Read more

Patch Tuesday will have eight bulletins

The final Patch Tuesday for 2008 will be big, with six critical bulletins and two important bulletins due, according to Microsoft.

On Thursday, the company announced eight security bulletins set to go public December 9. The pre-announcement is intended as a heads-up for IT departments before Patch Tuesday. Six bulletins are considered "critical," the most serious ranking given by the software giant. Two are considered "important," the next level down.

Among the critical patches, two affect Windows, and there is one each that addresses issues in Word, Excel, Visual Basic, and Internet Explorer. All flaws could … Read more

YouSendIt brings file delivery to Microsoft Office

File delivery service YouSendIt announced Thursday that it has released a plug-in (download) for Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 that will allow users to send any file from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to recipients through the company's service.

Based on my testing, the plug-in, which requires registration to download, works quite well. After surfing over to the company's plug-in page, which is already populated with other plug-ins for iPhoto, Outlook, Photoshop, and others, I downloaded the file in seconds.

Once installed, the plug-in embeds itself in Microsoft Office. On my version of Office 2007, I found YouSendIt's … Read more

Documents To Go Premium now on BlackBerry

BlackBerry users have been waiting for Documents To Go, an excellent document viewer that's been besting native viewers on mobile phones, for years. On Tuesday, Data Viz ended the impatient toe-tapping with Documents To Go Premium Edition 1.005 and its new companion PDF-viewer, PDF To Go.

The Premium Edition of Documents To Go ($49.99 for a yearly subscription or $69.99 for a lifetime license), builds on the Standard Edition that comes preloaded on the BlackBerry Bold (review), which also officially released in the U.S. today.

This pro version lets you read, fully edit, and create … Read more