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11/6/2009
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Microsoft Plans Fixes For 15 Security Flaws

November's patch day is about half the size of October's massive fix.

After last month's record-setting security patch, Microsoft's November patch brings a vastly diminished workload for IT administrators.

Microsoft next Tuesday plans to release 6 bulletins -- three designated "critical" and three designated "important" -- to address 15 vulnerabilities.

Windows 7 users can kick back and relax: Microsoft's newly released operating system is unaffected by these bulletins.

Four of the bulletins, three of which are rated "critical," affect Windows. Two, both "important," affect Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac.

Paul Henry, forensics and security analyst at Lumension, says that three of the bulletins appear to be updates or re-releases of patches issued in October. They address including Live Communications Server 2005 and Office Communications Server 2007, the use of Windows Server Update Services, and Microsoft Office Access Runtime 2003.

On Thursday, security researchers at two-factor authentication company PhoneFactor said they had identified a major flaw in the SSL protocol -- used for protecting sensitive data transmission online -- that could allow SSL sessions to be hijacked.

"All SSL libraries will need to be patched, and most client and server applications will, at a minimum, need to include new copies of SSL libraries in their products," said Steve Dispensa, CTO of PhoneFactor, in a statement. "Most users will eventually need to update any software that uses SSL."

That means Microsoft's software is sure to be affected.

Microsoft is a member of the industry consortium that PhoneFactor briefed on the SSL flaw in late September. So the vulnerability is something the company is aware of. Nonetheless, Henry doubts Microsoft will have a fix for the SSL flaw ready next week.

"We won't see anything to remediate this flaw on Patch Tuesday, but if a number of active exploits start to appear in the wild, then we will most likely see out-of-band patches issued from pretty much every vendor as it is such a widely used protocol," he said in an e-mailed statement.

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