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Risk

10/9/2009
01:14 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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October's Scary Patch Tuesday

Next Tuesday Microsoft plans to release 13 separate security bulletins that will cover more than 30 individual patches. More than half of the bulletins are ranked as "critical."

Next Tuesday Microsoft plans to release 13 separate security bulletins that will cover more than 30 individual patches. More than half of the bulletins are ranked as "critical."There are eight bulletins that are critical, to be exact. Microsoft's advanced notification is available here. Tuesday will also be the first time Microsoft included Windows 7 in the monthly patch cycle, with five bulletins affecting the new operating system set for general availability later this month.

If you are a Windows user, it will be tough to dodge the patch bullet. Operating systems being patched include Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server R2 2008.

Microsoft's Office suites: Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and 2007 Microsoft Office System. Add Visio, office Project, and many office viewers as well. Microsoft SQL server is also getting a fix, as will the company's Forefront security client.

If that's not enough patching for you come Tuesday, Adobe is serving updates of its own. Yesterday, Adobe gave a heads up that Adobe Reader 9.1.3 and Acrobat 9.1.3, Adobe Reader 8.1.6 and Acrobat 8.1.6 for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Reader 7.1.3 and Acrobat 7.1.3 for Windows and Macintosh will be patched. These flaws are already, in limited numbers, being leveraged in a small number of attacks:

Among other issues, this update will resolve a critical vulnerability in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.1.3 and earlier (CVE-2009-3459) on Windows, Macintosh and UNIX. There are reports that this issue is being exploited in the wild in limited targeted attacks; the exploit targets Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.1.3 on Windows. Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.1.3 customers with DEP enabled on Windows Vista are protected from this exploit. Disabling JavaScript also mitigates against this specific exploit, although a variant that does not rely on JavaScript could be possible. In the meantime, Adobe is also in contact with Antivirus and Security vendors regarding the issue and recommends users keep their anti-virus definitions up to date.

With so many critical vulnerabilities to patch, operations teams won't be delaying this month's batch. Looks like it will be a bumpy ride for IT teams and end users alike.

My mobile security and business observations can be found on Twitter @georgevhulme.

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