Risk
8/12/2013
01:42 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Plans Critical Patches For Internet Explorer, Exchange

Microsoft's security patches Tuesday will fix three critical vulnerabilities, including one that affects all current versions of Internet Explorer.

10 Hidden Benefits of Windows 8.1
10 Hidden Benefits of Windows 8.1
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft will issue eight security updates Tuesday, three of which are designated as "critical," the company's most urgent category. Two of them stand out because of the crucial software they involve: Internet Explorer and Exchange Server.

As usual, Microsoft previewed this month's Patch Tuesday releases in an advance notice. The precise nature of each vulnerability has yet to be detailed, but the critical update involving Internet Explorer will be an obvious priority for IT administrators.

The bundle will fix a remote execution exploit that spans all currently-supported versions of Internet Explorer, from IE 6, which is only supported on Windows XP, all the way to IE 10, which runs on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT. According to figures released this week by Microsoft, Internet Explorer accounts for more than half of worldwide desktop traffic. Given that browsers are already one of malware authors' primary targets, such a widespread bug requires prompt attention.

[ How reliable are Microsoft cloud services? Read Microsoft Office 365 Reveals Uptime Figures. ]

Excluding the newest edition, Microsoft has issued seven Internet Explorer updates so far this year, including an unusual out-of-band fix in January.

The bug afflicting Exchange Server has drawn attention as well. In a blog post, Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security vendor Qualys, said it will be interesting to see if the release is related to a recent Oracle update involving the company's Outside In product. Exchange uses Outside In to display an attached document without launching that document's native application.

Outside In has necessitated numerous security patches in the last year. Oracle released patches last month for Outside In, but because they arrived after Microsoft had already deployed July's security updates, Kandek and other security professionals have inferred that August's Patch Tuesday is implementing the fix.

One thing's for certain: Given the amount of sensitive content that moves over email each day, a critical Exchange Server update is always important, whatever the bug.

The third critical fix involves Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Both products will lose official support soon, with XP retiring in April and Windows Server to follow in July 2015. As such, these patches won't impact as many customers as the aforementioned ones. They'll still keep plenty of Microsoft customers busy, though; over 37% of the world's computers still run Windows XP, including over 70% in China.

The other five updates were each categorized as "important," Microsoft's second-highest designation. They fix bugs in various Windows versions that could allow attackers to launch denial-of-service attacks, execute malicious programs or otherwise gain illicit control of a machine. Four of the five updates require that machines be restarted.

Paul Henry, an analyst with security vendor Lumension, said in a blog post that Microsoft has patched bugs more quickly in 2013 than it has in the past.

Security experts expected more security updates in 2013, he wrote, "given Microsoft's commitment to cleaning up the low hanging fruit out there." Including the eight bulletins Microsoft is releasing this week, Microsoft has released 65 security bulletins so far this year, or seven more than it had released through the same point in 2013, Henry noted.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-2086
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the live preview in the Panopoly Magic module before 7.x-1.17 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a pane title.

CVE-2015-2087
Published: 2015-02-26
Unrestricted file upload vulnerability in the Avatar Uploader module before 6.x-1.3 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary PHP code by uploading a file with a PHP extension, then accessing it via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-2088
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in unspecified administration pages in the Term Queue module before 6.x-1.1 for Drupal allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unknown vectors.

CVE-2015-2089
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the CrossSlide jQuery (crossslide-jquery-plugin-for-wordpress) plugin 2.0.5 for WordPress allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) change plugin settings or conduct cross-site scripting (...

CVE-2015-2090
Published: 2015-02-26
SQL injection vulnerability in the ajax_survey function in settings.php in the WordPress Survey and Poll plugin 1.1.7 for Wordpress allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the survey_id parameter in an ajax_survey action to wp-admin/admin-ajax.php.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.