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Attackers are weaponizing an old Microsoft Office vulnerability as part of phishing campaigns to distribute a strain of malware called Agent Tesla.

The infection chains leverage decoy Excel documents attached in invoice-themed messages to trick potential targets into opening them and activate the exploitation of CVE-2017-11882 (CVSS score: 7.8), a memory corruption vulnerability in Office’s Equation Editor that could result in code execution with the privileges of the user.

The findings, which come from Zscaler ThreatLabz, build on prior reports from Fortinet FortiGuard Labs, which detailed a similar phishing campaign that exploited the security flaw to deliver the malware.

“Once a user downloads a malicious attachment and opens it, if their version of Microsoft Excel is vulnerable, the Excel file initiates communication with a malicious destination and proceeds to download additional files without requiring any further user interaction,” security researcher Kaivalya Khursale said.

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