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Trend Micro Reveals Top Document Attack Vectors From April

Most Popular Exploit Documents Used in April 2012

Trend Micro researchers recently offered a peek into just how prevalent the use of certain document types is among attackers.

By far, the two most popular document formats for hackers targeting Microsoft Office software are Word and Excel files, which were used in a combined 90 percent of attacks on Microsoft Office in April 2012. The biggest reason for this, according to Trend, is that the two most reliable exploits used by hackers targeted CVE-2010-3333 and CVE-2012-0158, which are both Word vulnerabilities.

“Targeted attacks that are part of APT campaigns commonly use exploit documents in their social engineering ploy,” explained Ryan Flores, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro. “These exploit documents serve as unassuming carriers of the attacker’s payload malware into the target’s computer. Since exploit documents are one of the first arrival vectors of APT malware, a little knowledge of the most exploited software and vulnerability will go a long way in removing low hanging security holes within one’s organization.”

Malicious exploits have used CVE-2010-3333 extensively during the last two years to install malware, Flores blogged. Reliable exploits have long life spans, he wrote, in part because many organizations are still failing to promptly update their software.

“Within a span of two weeks, CVE-2012-0158 went from zero to actually surpassing CVE-2010-3333 as the preferred exploit of attackers,” Flores wrote. “This just shows that the time window for patching critical vulnerabilities is small, which requires due diligence and discipline on patch management by organizations.”

Documents Used in Cyber Attacks

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