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Security

OpenOffice.org details vulnerability

Open-source software maker confirms a buffer overflow flaw and says it has fixed the problem.

OpenOffice.org, an open-source software maker, has confirmed a buffer overflow issue that could allow remote attacks.

The problem in its freely distributed productivity applications has been fixed, the organization said late Tuesday. Representatives said the group hopes to release a patch within the next 48 hours.

The flaw, first discovered in late March, according to postings on the group's Web site, is present in OpenOffice Version 1.1.4 and the OpenOffice Version 2.0 beta release of the applications, as well as in earlier versions of those products.

According to the OpenOffice site, the flaw was found in one specific function of the software and could be exploited by files designed to take advantage of the vulnerability. OpenOffice.org said the flaw may have allowed for remote execution of malicious code on computers running the affected OpenOffice applications.

Security researchers following the issue rated the flaw as relatively serious, with Secunia labeling the vulnerability as "moderately critical," its rating for issues that can compromise systems but that require user interaction in order to be exploited.

The flaw has now been effectively addressed by eliminating coding bugs that created the vulnerability, according to members of the OpenOffice community, the group of open-source software developers that contributes to the expansion of the software.

In an e-mail sent to News.com, Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager for OpenOffice, said that work on a fix for the buffer overflow vulnerability was completed on Tuesday. Suarez-Potts said OpenOffice is testing the security update and plans to distribute the remedy by Wednesday at the latest. Future versions of the group's software will include the fix, he said.

The ability of OpenOffice software users to fix problems on the fly has been highlighted by the group as one of the advantages of its applications. The open-source development model allows collaborators to view code and submit changes such as bug fixes or enhancements. Rival Microsoft typically issues security patch updates for its Windows products once a month.