PowerPoint OLE Object Vulnerability in Windows & How to Fix It

If you have been happily using Microsoft PowerPoint (version 2007, 2010 or 2013), then you are exposing yourself to a serious vulnerability (CVE-2014-6352) found in all the versions of Windows operating system (except Windows Server 2003). Since this vulnerability affects almost all the versions of Windows, some of the security researchers are calling it a Windows super-bug. This new vulnerability exists in the way Microsoft Windows handles the OLE objects hidden inside PowerPoint files. If you open a PowerPoint file downloaded from the internet or received through an email message and you see a UAC (user account control) popup, then that file may contain infected OLE code and might be making use of this vulnerability.

Until Microsoft offers a permanent solution to this problem, you should consider employing some temporary measures to mitigate this vulnerability on your Windows computer(s). Here are some of the ways to fix this vulnerability temporarily in Windows:

1. Microsoft Fixit Tool – You can download the Fixit tool “OLE Packager shim workaround” offered by Microsoft. Using this tool you can make changes in Windows to enhance the PowerPoint related security.

Microsoft FixIt 51026

2. Boost User Account Control Security –  In order to prevent any unwanted changes made to your computer, you should increase the User Account Control security level. In order to do so, press the hotkey Win+R, type useraccountcontrolsettings.exe in the Run dialog and press Enter. Drag the security level to the highest possible level and click OK to save the settings.

User Account Control Settings

3. Uninstall PowerPoint – If you do not really use Microsoft PowerPoint but have it on your system just because you paid for the whole Microsoft Office suite, then you can remove the PowerPoint component from your PC. You can remove the PowerPoint component by inserting the Microsoft Office installation CD/DVD into your PC and then running the setup.

4. Install a good antivirus solution on your computer – The way a hacker or cyber-criminal are typically going to use these vulnerabilities is by injecting a malicious code inside the PowerPoint files. Execution of this malicious code, then would give the control of your PC remotely to the hacker. But if you have a good antivirus solution installed on your PC, then it can detect the malicious code and block its execution. There are so many good and free antivirus solutions that you an install on your system, e.g., avast!, Avira and AVG etc.

For more information about this vulnerability you can visit : https://support.microsoft.com/kb/3010060.