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Vulnerabilities / Threats

6/11/2014
01:31 PM
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Microsoft Releases 2 Critical Updates, Patches 59 IE Holes

Patch Tuesday resolved 66 vulnerabilities in all, including two that had already been publicly disclosed without patches.

Microsoft released seven security bulletins yesterday including a massive critical Internet Explorer update that patches 59 vulnerabilities, two of which were already publicly disclosed without patches.

Two of the bulletins were categorized as critical (five as important) and three cover vulnerabilities that allow for remote code execution. In all, Microsoft patched 66 unique common vulnerabilities and exposures in Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Live Meeting, Lync, and Lync Server. To Microsoft's knowledge, none of the vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild at this time. Many of the vulnerabilities patched yesterday are less important to users who adhere to principle of "least privilege."

"Customers should apply all of the security updates provided in the June 2014 security bulletin release and note the updates for Word and Internet Explorer as the top deployment priorities for this month," says Dustin Childs, group manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. "While there are a number of things being addressed this time around, it’s important to note that, to our knowledge, none of these now-addressed CVEs have caused any customer impact to date."

The big update is MS14-035, a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer. In addition to 58 other vulnerabilities, it resolves a memory corruption vulnerability in IE8, disclosed by Tipping Point May 21 after Microsoft missed the 180-day deadline Tipping Point had set. Microsoft says that exploit code is likely to be written for the vast majority of these vulnerabilities.

"MS14-035 is the bulletin you have been looking for," says Marc Maiffret, CTO of BeyondTrust. "In short, Internet Explorer was broken every which way today. There are a significant number of Internet Explorer code execution and related vulnerabilities patched by this bulletin. Essentially if you [are] running Internet Explorer 6 through 11, you are vulnerable."

According to Microsoft:

The most severe of these [IE] vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Customers whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than those who operate with administrative user rights.

Maiffret says:

By default Internet Explorer runs code in low-integrity mode which means when it is exploited an attacker can do less with a system," says Maiffret. "There are three different vulnerabilities fixed here though that allow an attacker to go from low-integrity to medium-integrity; or basically to run code as the user of Internet Explorer. This is another great reminder of the need to implement least-privilege so that even when an attacker breaks out of Internet Explores low privilege modes they are still not obtain Administrator without a fight.

Jeff Davis, vice president of engineering at Quarri Technologies, says:

Browsers are always going to have new zero day vulnerabilities pop up every now and again. It makes using a browser feel like a lower-stakes game of Russian Roulette -- is today the day your fully-patched browser gets exploited? Security conscious individuals and organizations need extra layers of protection to keep their machines safe from these attacks. For example, you could run your browser in a virtual machine that you roll back after each session, use a separate device (like a Chromebook) for web surfing, or run a third-party secure browser product.

MS-035 also includes updates to IE's XSS Filter to block more cross-site scripting attacks.

The other critical update released yesterday is MS14-036, which addresses vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Graphics Component used in Windows, Office, and Lync, that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted file or web page.

Maiffret continued:

MS14-036 brings back even more fun with GDI+. GDI+ is a graphics device interface for Windows and a reoccurring pain point from a vulnerability perspective. Part of the challenge is because GDI+ vulnerabilities tend to affect multiple Microsoft products, including in this case base operating systems and Microsoft Office. Good news again here for those running Office 2013; it is not affected. But the bad news is as mentioned this also affects base OS components which in this case is every supported OS version from Microsoft. And not to pile on further bad news but Microsoft also suggest exploit code is likely.

Chris Goettl, product manager at Shavlik, says:

This vulnerability is triggered when users open a specially crafted website or file, which means a phishing campaign is involved. If you look at the affected software list, GDI+ is a component you will see repeatedly. It’s a very common core graphics component and its widespread nature throughout the Windows ecosystem is what makes this vulnerability critical, in spite of the mitigating factors, which include reducing user rights below admin level and encouraging users to avoid clicking on links or open files that may be linked to a phishing attack.

There is one other patch that addresses remote code execution vulnerability, but it is only classified as "important" (not critical), since it only applies to Microsoft Word in Office 2007.

Although Microsoft only calls it "important," Maiffret describes it as "a critical vulnerability for Microsoft Word that you likely will see active exploits for. The good news though is that the latest major release versions of Word, such as included with Office 2013, are not affected."

"This is a great reminder that sometimes when budgeting and thinking about security it is not simply about buying some new protection appliance but making sure your organization has migrated from things like Office 2007 to Office 2013, etc."

Yesterday's patches also resolve vulnerabilities in Lync Server and Microsoft XML Core Services that could enable information disclosure; one in the Windows TCP protocol that could allow denial of service, and; one in the Remote Desktop Protocol that could allow tampering if the attacker gains access to the same network segment as the targeted system during a RDP session.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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Robert McDougal
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Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 11:51:51 AM
Re: Other Browsers
I primarily use Chrome or Firefox.  However, there are certain internal web apps which only work with IE.  As such, the only time I use IE is when I work with those web apps.
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 10:24:32 AM
Re: Other Browsers
Also, looking back into this from an enterprise perspective. Many 3rd party vendors create web apps working natively with one browser. Whether it be IE, Chrome, Firefox, etc. I think it is important to have a secondary browser accepted within your organization with similar security lockdowns as your first browser. This way you can remain secure while staying functional.

Side note: Have you ever tried to use a webapp or console using an incompatible browser? Its a terrible experience.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 3:55:51 AM
New patches from MS
"Two of the bulletins were categorized as critical (five as important) and three cover vulnerabilities that allow for remote code execution. In all, Microsoft patched 66 unique common vulnerabilities and exposures in Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Live Meeting, Lync, and Lync Server. To Microsoft's knowledge, none of the vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild at this time. Many of the vulnerabilities patched yesterday are less important to use"

Sara, then how they identified these loop holes? Normally these loop holes are either reporting by customers after exploited by hackers or developers on pre release versions.
Randy Naramore
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Randy Naramore,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 4:45:08 PM
Re: Other Browsers
I only use IE if I have to. Chrome is a good browser and most sites work well with it.
RetiredUser
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RetiredUser,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 3:37:59 PM
Re: Other Browsers
@RyanSepe

I absolutely agree.  As a GNU/Linux hacker, I don't touch Windows systems unless I'm at work where it's part of my job.  But I'm not the average user so my Windows caskets are always locked down pretty tight.  I do not user IE when on Windows, though.  In fact, I try to do everything I need to do online through Lynx via Cygwin, or using a locked down Firefox instance, portable install off a USB. 

Some old arguments for IE included more and more sites using Silverlight, but that has a Firefox plugin now, too, so...  I've yet to see any argument for IE that wasn't countered, and often sent users running for other browsers (excluding Microsoft-centric developers, of course, or users of web-based applications written only for IE).
securityaffairs
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50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 3:21:02 PM
Re: Big Update for Windows 8
It is an important strategy, a must to preserve Microsoft users. Sincerely I still haven't understood why Microsoft has spent so much time to release the last critical update.

Better late than never
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 3:00:35 PM
Other Browsers
Not to by cynical, but is there any reason not to move to another browser? (Chrome or Firefox) It seems like there has been many vulnerabilities exposed for IE lately and from my experience at least with Chrome the browser is much smoother. Thoughts?
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/11/2014 | 2:20:35 PM
Big Update for Windows 8
It's worth noting that this Patch Tuesday included a bit of a strong-arm move by Microsoft: If you're running Windows 8 but not 8.1, you no longer get security updates. If you want to get updates again, you have to move to 8.1.

I sort of see where Microsoft is coming from. Windows 8.1 is substantially better than Windows 8, yet about half of the combined 8/8.1 user base is still using the original version. Given that Windows 8 still suffers from reputation problems tied to the original release, I can see why Microsoft feels compelled to move people along. That said, we'll see if the tactic comes back somehow to bite them. Whereas Apple seems to push users along without too much incident, Microsoft often seems to run into trouble.
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