Microsoft Office vulnerabilities are high among African users


Russian internet cybersecurity company Kaspersky says the number of exploits for Microsoft Office suite vulnerabilities increased globally compared to the first quarter of 2022. In the second quarter of 2022, these exploits accounted for 82% of the total exploits on different platforms.

That’s according to Kaspersky’s latest quarterly malware report. The firm says the META region (Middle East, Turkey and Africa) has also seen an increase in attacks via MS Office vulnerabilities.

MS Office vulnerabilities CVE-2021-40444, CVE-2017-0199, CVE-2017-11882 and CVE-2018-0802 were used by criminals most often in the second quarter, being exploited to attack more than 551,000 total users.

These attempts recorded in the report were countered by Kaspersky solutions. The company claims that if the attackers had been successful, they would have taken control of victims’ computers to view, modify or delete data without their knowledge through the remote execution of malicious code.

The comparative number of users affected by Microsoft Office vulnerabilities in the second quarter of 2022 and the associated dynamics.

Microsoft Office Vulnerabilities Exploited Across Africa

In Kenya, the number of users attacked by these vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Office suite in the last quarter increased by 20%.

Nigeria recorded a 9% increase in the number of users attacked. In South Africa, the number of users attacked by these vulnerabilities decreased by 3% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. However, the upward trend in the number of such attacks around the world is keeping security operations centers on high alert.

Kaspersky experts found that exploits for the vulnerability, designated CVE-2021-40444, were used to attack nearly 5,000 people worldwide in the second quarter of 2022, eight times more than in the first quarter of 2022.

CVE-2021-40444 is a vulnerability in MSHTML, the engine of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is part of Microsoft operating systems, because some software on Windows relies on its engine to work with online content – for example, components of Microsoft Office.

“Since CVE-2021-40444 is quite easy to use, we expect its exploitation to increase globally. Criminals craft malicious documents and convince their victims to open them using social engineering techniques,” comments Alexander Kolesnikov, malware analyst at Kaspersky.

“The Microsoft Office application then downloads and executes a malicious script. To be safe, it is essential to install the vendor’s patch, use security solutions capable of detecting the exploitation of vulnerabilities and keeping employees informed of modern cyber threats.

Learn more about malware attacks in Q2 2022 on


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