Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me
looking for freeware

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Microsoft Word Warning: Flaw Could Let Attackers Control Your PC

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, Security Help

A recently-discovered vulnerability in Microsoft Word could leave your PC open to attack, even if you simply preview an infected  e-mail.  This attack targets Word 2010 and comes in the form of a rich text file, which is identified by the .rtf at the end.

The scary part is that you could activate this bug simply by previewing an e-mail. Word is your default document viewer in Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013.

An attacker could use this to gain control of your computer by executing remote code. The RTF-formatted data can corrupt system memory and then execute arbitrary code.  An attacker could also set up a website to host that specially-crafted file or make that file part of a post or advertisement on websites that accept user-based content or advertisement.

Now, the attacker would have to convince you to come to the site using a link in an e-mail or a message.  There’s a long list of affected Word programs:

  • Microsoft Word 2003 Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Word 2007 Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Word 2010 Service Pack 1 (32 & 64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Word 2010 Service Pack 2 (32 & 64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Word 2013 (32 & 64-bit editions)
  • Microsoft Word Viewer
  • Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack Service Pack 3
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
  • Word Automation Services on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (Service Pack 1 & 2)
  • Word Automation Services on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Microsoft Office Web Apps 2010 (Service Pack 2 & 2)
  • Microsoft Office Apps Web Server 2013

Microsoft has offered up a Fix-It-For-Me Option here. This fix blocks Rich Text Files from your computer. There’s also the option of disabling the fix, should you need to open a rich text file.

If you use the Outlook e-mail client, you can change your settings to read incoming e-mails as plain text to protect yourself.  In Outlook, go to File and then choose options.

An options window will open. Choose Trust Center from the column on the left.

Then select Trust Center Settings at the bottom right of the window.

Another window will open and you’ll choose E-mail Security from the column on the left.

Check the tick box beside Read all standard main in plain text. Then hit Okay.

If there are any rich text files you absolutely need to open, make sure you scan them with your security program. Microsoft is working on a permanent fix for this issue. This is a good time to point out that security support for Word 2003 ends on April 8, 2014 along with support for Windows XP That means that if a bug like this turned up that was affecting only Word 2003 after that date, Microsoft security experts would not be working to find a way to permanently fix the issue.

~ Cynthia

Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “Microsoft Word Warning: Flaw Could Let Attackers Control Your PC”

  1. John Carrington says:

    Thanks for this info, but having run the fix can I be sure that my PC is not infected from before I ran the fix ?

  2. Carol Ann Carroll says:

    I want to thank World Start (as always) for keeping everyone up-to-date on the latest vulnerabilities and how to fix them. I am sure you have saved many a computer from crashing or worse.

    You are THE BEST techie newsletter.

    Thank you so very very much.

    Carol Ann Carroll.

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

looking for freeware
WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive