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Perimeter

12/17/2009
05:54 PM
Wolfgang Kandek
Wolfgang Kandek
Commentary
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Improved Security In Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft has made Office 2010 available in public beta. After playing around with it for a while, I am not yet sure I need any of the new functionality.

Microsoft has made Office 2010 available in public beta. After playing around with it for a while, I am not yet sure I need any of the new functionality.I was perfectly happy with the rather old Office XP, and the ribbon introduced in 2007 still confuses me. However, there are a number of interesting, out-of-the-box security enhancements in the 2010 version that make Office 2010 a recommended upgrade.

First, the installation procedure includes a configuration screen for Office updates. The suggested settings default to automatic. This alone will go a long way to keeping Office 2010 users out of trouble. In general, applying patches is the one simple action anyone takes to improve the security of his computer system. The recent Microsoft Security Intelligence report states that the typical Microsoft Office installation has virtually no patches installed, and that the average Office installation has not been updated in the past 5.6 years -- Microsoft Office basically gets installed and used, but forgotten in terms of system administration.

The second useful security feature is called Protected View, the new and integrated version of the MOICE. Office documents received by e-mail or downloaded through the Internet are opened in a protected environment, a "sandbox," and if the document attempts to modify the underlying operating system, then it is blocked by the sandbox. If the user wants to edit and save the document, then he has to press an "enable editing" button to retrieve the document from the sandbox.

-- As the CTO for Qualys, Wolfgang Kandek is responsible for product direction and all operational aspects of the QualysGuard platform and its infrastructure. Wolfgang has more than 20 years of experience in developing and managing information systems. His focus has been on Unix-based server architectures and application delivery through the Internet. Wolfgang provides the latest commentary on his blog: laws.qualys.com and also publishes his Patch Tuesday commentary to the QualysGuard channel: www.youtube.com/QualysGuard. He is a frequent source in business and trade media and speaks at industry conferences around the world, most recently at RSA 2009.

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