Microsoft Vulnerabilities Hit Critical Levels

With patches out, Microsoft reveals critical vulnerabilities in Windows and associated apps

You know those patches Microsoft issued Tuesday? It turns out there were good reasons for them.

Now that the patches are out, Microsoft and other security researchers are revealing the details of vulnerabilities that have been discovered in recent days, several of them critical.

Translation: If you haven't installed those patches yet, you'd better get hopping.

Eight of the vulnerabilities center around Internet Explorer, which contains several flaws that could enable an attacker to run remote code or conduct phishing exploits, according to several vulnerability reporting sites.

The French Security Incident Response Team (FrSIRT), Secunia, and Verisign all rated the IE flaws collectively as "critical," and Verisign raised its overall level of alert for the entire Internet environment.

Five of the IE flaws centered around memory corruption errors that occur when the user takes actions such as saving a Web page or initiating ActiveX or COM code. An attacker could use the glitch to take over the user's machine, fool the user into giving up sensitive information, or execute remote code, reports say.

Microsoft rated four of those five memory corruption errors as "critical" and recommended that users install the new patches as soon as possible. Separately, Microsoft also issued a "critical" warning yesterday on a Jscript vulnerability that could allow remote code execution or cause application compatibility problems.

"If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited the most severe of these vulnerabilities could take complete control of an affected system," Microsoft said. "An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights." Attacks on clients that don't have administrative rights pose less of a threat, the company said.

While IE was at the core of most of the vulnerabilities, Microsoft and other vulnerability sites also issued critical warnings about several graphics programs, as well as Word and PowerPoint, which contain flaws that could enable remote code execution.

All of the vulnerabilities can be eliminated by upgrading to the new patches issued, Tuesday, Microsoft said.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN)