EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.12.08

Taking Microsoft OOXML to Task

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Security at 2:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Any Windows/Office debuggers in the audience?

The following is a reproduction of a new post from Rex Ballard (I started this discussion thread), whose previous post we quoted the other day.


Message-ID: <31a66169-d9e7-4715-9e9e-e3488ebd36a9@25g2000hsx.googlegroups.com>
From: Rex Ballard <rex.ballard@gmail.com>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
Subject: Re: Leaked ISO Document Reveals Crooked ISO Amid MS OOXML Corruptions
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 08:20:23 -0700 (PDT)

[...]

ODF is a comprehensive document that provides detailed specifications
from the high level document content down to the smallest elements of
scalable vector graphics. There are some “standard” mime object types
that are supported, such as PNG and JPEG, but other embedded formats
must be installed using plug-ins which have to be authenticated by the
user and by the system at installation time, and cannot be installed
by the content. Furthermore, the installed content can easily be
identified as trustworthy or not, and can be restricted in it’s
capabilities.

OpenXML on the other hand, is a high-level specification which
describes the high level envelopes used to embed binary objects which
are included in the content. The content itself contains the binary
code which can call any function in any Microsoft library and has all
permissions of the person opening the document. If a user account is
set up as “Administrator”, then the application can mess with the
registry, create, download, and hide files, can execute applications
in those files, can install any number of new viruses, and generally
wreak havoc on the system.

I’ll leave it to others to document the exact details (as I said, I’m
busy these days), but I’m sure anyone who tries to publish these
vulnerabilites will probably find themselves getting the same
treatment that Tracy Reed of Ultraviolet.org got when he tried to
publish his warnings about ActiveX controls back in 1997. Microsoft
got a court injunction against him, and forced him to take down the
content, claiming that it was being used to encourage hacking, and was
damaging the Microsoft brand.

“I got a couple of docx documents and had trouble getting them to open, even with the plug-in for Office XP. Next thing I know, I get a notice from my registry auditor that I have 1300 new registry errors.”Over the last 10 years,
we’ve seen these very same
techniques, documented back in 1997,
used widely to spread viruses including
Melissa, Nimda, Sky, BugBear, and about
250,000 other viruses, worms,
and malware, not including spy-ware and
other “Microsoft Authorized”
invasions of our privacy.

I got a couple of docx documents and had trouble getting them to open,
even with the plug-in for Office XP. Next thing I know, I get a
notice from my registry auditor that I have 1300 new registry errors.
And suddenly, my PC is churning the disk-drive and the network
connection at 3:00 AM (I’m getting old and have to get up), and the
network shows that I’m uploading something at full speed, even though
my computer is supposedly sleeping.

It isn’t a back-up program that I’m running.

I would encourage COLA readers and OSS advocates to explore this in
more detail.

get someone with Office 2007 to send you a docx file.
unzip it using pkzip or winzip or unzip.

look at the binary files.

replace one binary object with another.

zip up the document,

see if your office-2007 user can read the “enhanced” document.

For those of you with OLE programming skills, create an OLE object
that creates a file, and e-mails that file to you using smtp.

Send a document with this new ole object embedded (along with the
others) and see if you get an e-mail.

I haven’t tried this, and I don’t know if it will work. I’m not sure
how hard it would be to make it work. I just think it might be an
interesting project worth investigating, especially if you are
considering the migration of a few thousand users to Vista and Office
2007.

I’d love to see what the results turn out to be. After all, if it’s
that easy to take control of a recipient’s machine just by sending
them a “trusted” Word, Excel, or PowerPoint attachment, just think how
much chaos a really aggressive malicious hacker, with a goal of
obtaining marketable information about your business, could do.


Does ISO really want to approve such a ‘virus’? As an international standard even? If someone tests the above, please post the outcome here or elsewhere. It would prove invaluable.

The last time a chain of ISO problems was cited, Ian Easson challenged an argument from Groklaw. He might wish read the following lengthy follow-up. ISO is in a deeper puddle of mud than before.

Brazil is a P member of SC 34, so according to my reading of the clause, it has the right to appeal if any of the three above issues apply, and arguably they all do. According to South Africa, if the issue is ISO’s reputation, or if there is a matter of principle involved, Brazil can appeal. Even point three could apply, in that Brazil raises matters such as incorrect tabulation of votes, which, if true, one would hope ISO wasn’t aware of.

[...]

Why did they bother to go, one might ask? Why vote, if votes disappear from the record? By my reading, Brazil paints a picture of an orchestrated event, tilted away from criticism or a negative result and a refusal to give substantive consideration to issues delegates wanted to discuss, due to time constraints Brazil calls arbitrary, and worse.

For details about the BRM in question, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and have your jaw sink to the floor. It was a bad plan from the get-go [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but Emperor Microsoft was in a hurry and it even used its lobbyist Jan Van Den Beld to change the rules ‘on the fly’.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  2. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  3. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  4. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  5. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  6. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  7. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  8. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  9. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  10. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  11. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  12. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  14. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  15. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  16. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  17. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  18. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  19. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  20. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  21. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day



  22. Links 16/7/2019: Btrfs Gets 'Cleaned Up', Clonezilla Live 2.6.2-15

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow

    Assuming that he was informed, then it seems fair to say that Battistell’s little “joke” at the expense of the Boards was in very bad taste



  24. EPO Noise Machine Turned On as Haar Hearing Kicks Off, Patrick Corcoran Defamed Again

    The EPO does not want people to hear about Haar; it just wants people to hear about how wonderful the EPO is and there are some who have just decided to slander Patrick Corcoran again



  25. Microsoft is 'Doing Kamikaze' (神風) on Linux

    An analogy for what the Linux (only in name!) Foundation and Microsoft mean to Linux — or by extension to GNU/Linux and Free software whose largest repository Microsoft took control of



  26. The 'New' Linux.com Sometimes Feels Like a Microsoft Promotion Site

    Anything that the ‘Linux’ Foundation touches seems to turn into its proprietors’ agenda; one of those proprietors is Microsoft, which has a "Jihad" against Linux



  27. IBM is a Threat to the Internet, Not Just to Software Development (Due to Software Patents Aggression)

    IBM continues its aggression against technology — a fact that’s even more distressing now that IBM calls the shots at Red Hat



  28. EPO Looney Tunes - Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?

    European patent justice isn’t working within the premises of EPOnia; a bunch of ‘show trials’ may in fact turn out to be just that — a show



  29. Links 16/7/2019: LXD 3.15, Q4OS 3.8 and D9VK 0.13f

    Links for the day



  30. Links 15/7/2019: Vulkan 1.1.115 and Facebook Openwashing

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts