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2/9/2010
04:35 PM
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Microsoft Fixes 26 Vulnerabilities In Windows, Office

February brings a substantial set of patches from Microsoft.

Microsoft on Tuesday released 13 security bulletins to address 26 vulnerabilities in its Windows and Office software.

Five of the vulnerabilities are rated "Critical," seven are rated "Important," and one is rated "Moderate."

Microsoft also issued a security advisory for a publicly disclosed flaw in the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols. Though this vulnerability is not addressed in the patch, Microsoft has provided a temporary workaround.

The company recommends that customers deploy MS10-006, MS10-007, MS10-008, and MS10-013 given that they are rated "Critical," with Exploitability Index ratings of 1.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle, says MS10-013, a Microsoft media player flaw, is the most dangerous vulnerability. "The nature of the exploit lends itself to drive-by attacks that leave unsuspecting victims infected," he said in an e-mailed statement. "Since media is what excites people most on the Internet today, an exploit of this bug would make it extremely easy to entice users to watch videos that are actually gateways to malware."

Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek says that both MS10-006, an SMB client vulnerability, and MS10-013 should be patched as soon as possible. He adds that MS10-012 is important for server administrators. "It allows a malicious, unauthenticated party to launch a remote denial of service attack," he explained in an e-mailed statement. "In addition remote authenticated clients can execute code using another flaw addressed in the bulletin."

Joshua Talbot, security intelligence manager at Symantec Security Response, also says that MS10-012, an SMB Server pathname overflow vulnerability, tops his list of vulnerabilities that need immediate attention. "Server-side vulnerabilities aren't too common anymore, but they're a golden goose for attackers when they are discovered," he explained in an e-mailed statement.

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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

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