Office 2003 moves to OpenXML format

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Office 2003 moves to OpenXML format

Microsoft has released a security component that converts Office 2003 documents into the Open XML format, ridding them of malware.

The Microsoft Office Isolated Conversion Environment (MOICE) was scheduled for release on 8 May, but development issues forced a delay. It acts as a secure filter for Office documents that opens files in a sandbox environment that prevents any exploits infecting a user's system.

MOICE is primarily intended for use by government and financial institutions that need to securely update old files in order to migrate to Office 2007.

The tool is expected to curb the onslaught of Office zeroday exploits that have surfaced over the past months. Attackers over the past months have used about a dozen different Word and Excel flaws in attempts to steal confidential information from corporations. Each attack was highly targeted, sending infected files to a select few key employees within a company.

Analysts have previously predicted that the tool will primarily appeal to governments, financial institutions and software firms, because they have large amounts of sensitive information.

Individual users however might want to stay clear of MOICE. The secure scanning process will cause a noticeable delay in the time that an application takes to load a document.
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