Microsoft's Excel Has Web Security Problem

Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet software can make Internet users' computers susceptible to "booby-trapped" Web sites that download codes destroying data.

The codes use a function of Excel that divides World Wide Web sites into sections called frames and malicious codes can be downloaded to a computer by visiting what appears to be an ordinary Web site, even if Excel isn't running.

The problem was first discovered in Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Bill Lyons, chief executive of Finjan, a computer security company in Israel that today will publicize the problem.

The glitch is different from other computer security issues because of the widespread use of Excel; Microsoft warned in early December that the feature could be used to distribute dangerous code and made available software to disable the feature, although it didn't say how it could be exploited by the use of Internet frames and Web sites, the Journal reported.

In the Microsoft antitrust trial, Microsoft lawyer John Warden yesterday challenged Intuit chief executive William Harris Jr. for his suggestion in pretrial testimony that U.S. courts should limit Microsoft's power in the computer industry.

Copyright 1999, Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.


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