Risk
7/9/2013
09:09 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Patch Tuesday Fixes Six Critical Bugs

Microsoft issues patches for an unusual number of critical vulnerabilities that encompass the company's entire software ecosystem.

10 Hidden Benefits of Windows 8.1
10 Hidden Benefits of Windows 8.1
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft has been focusing on Windows 8 lately, but there are numerous versions of Windows in use and the company can't ignore them. On Tuesday, Microsoft will release an unusually high number of critical patches for almost all of them.

July's Patch Tuesday includes fixes for six critical flaws, all of which involve remote execution bugs that could allow attackers to take control of a user's machine. The affected platforms and software includes not only all currently-supported versions of Windows, but also all Internet Explorer versions from IE 6 onward, as well as Office, Lync, Visual Studio, Silverlightand Microsoft's .NET framework. If you use any Microsoft product from the last several years, in other words, you probably need at least some of the patches.

Two of the critical exploits require that machines be restarted. Some versions of Windows are more vulnerable than others without a given patch, meaning that some of the updates designated as "critical" overall are downgraded for specific platforms. Nonetheless, all versions of Windows are afflicted by multiple high-priority exploits.

[ Microsoft is moving more quickly to fix problems. Read Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes. ]

Microsoft has also prepared a seventh patch, which it classified as "important." It addresses a vulnerability in Windows Defender, the platform's pre-installed security software.

The large batch of critical fixes has raised eyebrows in the security community. In a blog post, Paul Ducklin, head of technology at security vendor Sophos, advised businesses to get their "operational ducks in a row," adding that the patches are unusually broad. Windows Server Core, for example, is usually excluded from Patch Tuesdays because its stripped-down feature set offers a "significantly reduced attack surface area." It's therefore notable that July's updates include a Windows Server Core 2012 reboot, Ducklin wrote.

Paul Henry, a security and forensic analyst at security tools firm Lumension, similarly told The Guardian that this month's patches constitute "one of the uglier releases we've seen from Microsoft this year." Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with Sophos, channeled the hacker vernacular to describe the threat, warning in a blog post to "patch before you're pwned."

IT managers, in short, should be on alert.

The updates are expected to address a somewhat controversial exploit reported in June by Google researcher Tavis Ormandy. Ormandy discovered a zero-day vulnerability linked to the kernel for all editions of Windows from Windows 2000 to the present. The Google researcher, who had previously criticized Microsoft as "difficult to work with" reported the bug privately but waited only a few days before publishing his findings online.

Some security professionals have cried foul, arguing that Ormandy's public disclosure was unethical because it left Microsoft too little time to develop a fix and, in effect, gave malware authors a dangerous head start.

Security firm Secunia determined that the bug is only semi-urgent. Still, the firm noted that attackers could use the vulnerability to gain escalated privileges, or to hijack a machine for a denial-of-service attack. Tod Beardsley, a security researcher with Metasploit, noted in a blog, however, that this sort of local exploit provides a foundation for more damaging attacks.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-5367
Published: 2015-08-27
The HP lt4112 LTE/HSPA+ Gobi 4G module with firmware before 12.500.00.15.1803 on EliteBook, ElitePad, Elite, ProBook, Spectre, ZBook, and mt41 Thin Client devices allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5368
Published: 2015-08-27
The HP lt4112 LTE/HSPA+ Gobi 4G module with firmware before 12.500.00.15.1803 on EliteBook, ElitePad, Elite, ProBook, Spectre, ZBook, and mt41 Thin Client devices allows remote attackers to modify data or cause a denial of service, or execute arbitrary code, via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2013-7424
Published: 2015-08-26
The getaddrinfo function in glibc before 2.15, when compiled with libidn and the AI_IDN flag is used, allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (invalid free) and possibly execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, as demonstrated by an internationalized domain name to pin...

CVE-2015-2139
Published: 2015-08-26
HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM) before 7.5.0, as used in HP Matrix Operating Environment before 7.5.0 and other products, allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2015-5403.

CVE-2015-2140
Published: 2015-08-26
HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM) before 7.5.0, as used in HP Matrix Operating Environment before 7.5.0 and other products, allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information or modify data via unspecified vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.