How safe is Microsoft Office for Mac 2008/2011 for Mac users?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by GordonGekko999, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. GordonGekko999 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    With the latest security updates now out for both Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 and 2011, I wanted to ask the veterans here how safe it is to use on a Mac? I used to be under the impression that you couldn't get a computer virus using Office on a Mac, you could only send one to a Windows user, which is still not cool but made me worry less. Turns out I was completely wrong, given the fact that Pages now imports from Office and exports to Office, I'm thinking if I need the hassle of adding a potentially non secure program to my Mac, do you think my worries are overinflated?

    Here is the latest security update

    This security update resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and five privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office. The most severe vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens or previews a specially crafted RTF e-mail message. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

    So now if I just preview or open an email I could mess my whole Mac up? Is this true even if Office is in quit mode? I always surf the web on a non Admin account, would this completely protect me or just partially?

    Could somebody writing college papers where one would need to import and export many things into Word, could they get by using Pages or is its export ability still unreliable?

    If you uninstalled Office for Mac, you wouldn't lose your documents correct? They would just open in Pages?

    If I decide to keep Office for Mac 2011, can I just uninstall Office for Mac 2008 without a hitch?

    Thanks for your time and help.
  2. munkery, Dec 22, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

    munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Many client side apps on all OSes have vulnerabilities that can be exploited to allow arbitrary code execution that allows user level access to the system. Arbitrary code execution alone typically is not enough to lead to a virus install. Arbitrary code execution has to be strung together with privilege escalation to allow virus install. If you were running as superuser (root account in OS X, not Admin) or the process runs as root (shown in Activity Monitor), then it is problematic in relation to malware install.
  3. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    1. Correct

    2. You already have both installed? If not, you should be able to upgrade without uninstalling the older version.
  4. teski macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    Office 2011 doesn't have an upgrade. It'll install side-by-side with Office 2008.
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Yes. There are no known viruses for Mac OSX. There are a few pieces of Malware but those come from downloading illegal files and giving them permission to run.

    In all honesty, even on Windows viruses are no big deal for the most part. Almost every machine has one regardless of antivirus or antispyware installed on the machine. I've worked in IT many years and every company I worked for used Symantec antivirus so machines were infected ALL the time. (Symantec doesn't find anything, and if it does it will alert you about it but not remove it.)

    Anyway if you want to use Office 2011, just use it and don't worry about viruses. Most virus nonsense you read about comes from Hollywood movies not real life.
  6. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010

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