Opening Documents

Can you get a virus by opening a .DOC file? How about .RTF or .WRI? Yes, even if you don’t have Word installed.

On Windows these files are traditionally opened by Microsoft Word, and if you don’t have Word installed Windows uses WordPad to open these files.

A new exploit has been found that attacks WordPad. This affects most Windows users, in particular those who don’t have Word or Office installed.

How it works:

  • You see a link to open a document, or you receive an email with a document attached.
  • You open the file (the file name ends with .doc, .rtf, or .wri)
  • It opens a connection across the internet for a hacker to log onto your computer
  • The malicious hacker can do anything from your computer, such as installing more malware, using your computer to commit other crimes, or just watching what you do on your PC.

What you can do to avoid this:

  • Perform regular Windows updates. Microsoft will be publishing a patch to fix this problem soon.
  • Use a good anti virus package. This attempts to prevent you from downloading infected files.

Microsoft has published a document on this vulnerability here.

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