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Critical Microsoft flaw: Hackers can take over your computer if you do this one thing

Critical Microsoft flaw: Hackers can take over your computer if you do this one thing
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Microsoft is sounding the alarm on a serious new security flaw that could let a hacker take over your computer with very little effort. And it works on any version of Windows.

Don't panic just yet though. I'm going to tell you how it works and how you can stay safe.

How it works

To exploit the flaw, a hacker creates a Microsoft Office file with a malicious OLE object. OLE stands for "Object Linking and Embedding" and it lets you bring spreadsheets from Excel or text from Word into another document, like a PowerPoint presentation.

Why would you want to do this? If you're linking the content instead of copying it, you can make changes to the original file and the changes will show up in the other document automatically. That's great if you need to keep updating the numbers on a project in Excel and don't want to recopying the information to Word or PowerPoint every time.

But now we know that if you open an Office file with a malicious OLE, a hacker can take over your system. Microsoft isn't saying exactly how until the problem is patched. Fortunately, we don't need to know exactly how the hack works to protect against it.

Next page: How to stay safe
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