Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

06:10 PM
Connect Directly

Microsoft Fixes 111 Vulnerabilities for Patch Tuesday

This marks the third month in a row that Microsoft patched more than 100 bugs, of which 16 are classified as critical.

Microsoft today released fixes for 111 vulnerabilities as part of its monthly Patch Tuesday rollout. Sixteen of these flaws are categorized as Critical, and 95 are classified as Important.

This month marks the third-largest Patch Tuesday update in Microsoft history, ZDNet notes. The company patched a whopping 115 bugs in March 2020, its biggest release to date, and 113 in April. Vulnerabilities patched this month exist in Windows, the Edge browser, ChakraCore, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Office Services and Web Apps, Visual Studio, Microsoft Dynamics, .NET Framework, .NET Core, and Power BI. None are publicly known or under attack.

While the absence of known vulnerabilities and zero-days gives IT managers some time to test patches before they are deployed, the size of Microsoft's recent Patch Tuesday releases could be a burden. The global shift to remote work, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, has exacerbated many existing patch management challenges and created new ones for IT teams.

Among the serious vulnerabilities patched this month are CVE-2020-1023, CVE-2020-1102, and CVE-2020-1024, all critical remote code execution flaws (RCE) in Microsoft SharePoint. These could allow attackers to access a system; view, edit, or delete data; or directly run malicious code on the system. An intruder could have access to sensitive data stored in the organization's SQL server and gain a platform to conduct malicious activity against devices in the environment.

"Systems like SharePoint can often be difficult to take offline and patch, allowing RCE vulnerabilities to linger in your infrastructure," explains Jay Goodman, product marketing manager for Automox. "This gives attackers the ability to 'live off the land' and move laterally easily once access is gained via an existing exploit."

Also worth noting are CVE-2020-1117, an RCE vulnerability in Microsoft Color Management, and CVE-2020-1126, a Media Foundation memory corruption vulnerability. Both are classified as Critical, and both could be exploited by tricking a user into opening a malicious attachment or visiting a website that contains the exploit code. If successful, an attacker could achieve the same rights as the compromised user and perform actions with the user's permissions.

"If the user has administrative privileges, the attacker could then perform a variety of actions, such as installing programs, creating a new account with full user rights, and viewing, changing, or deleting data," says Satnam Narang, staff research engineer at Tenable. "However, Microsoft rates these vulnerabilities as 'Exploitation Less Likely,' according to its Exploitability Index."

Most of the Critical flaws patched today are resolved via OS and browser updates; however, there are a number of Important CVEs with higher likelihood of exploitation. These include a pair of elevation-of-privilege vulnerabilities in Win32k (CVE-2020-1054 and CVE-2020-1143), and another in Windows Graphics Component (CVE-2020-1135). All of these are rated Exploitation More Likely by Microsoft. An attacker who gains access to a target system could exploit any one of these flaws to execute code with elevated privileges, Narang explains.

This acknowledgement underscores an important point: Vulnerabilities with lower severity levels aren't necessarily less likely to be exploited. If a business's prioritization stops at a certain severity, or CVSS scores above a certain level, it could miss flaws an attacker is likely to use.

"What is interesting and often overlooked is seven of the 10 CVEs at higher risk of exploit are only rated as Important," notes Todd Schell, senior product manager with Ivanti. "It is not uncommon to look to the Critical vulnerabilities as the most concerning, but many of the vulnerabilities that end up being exploited are rated as Important vs. Critical." Risk metrics like Publicly Disclosed, Exploited, and Microsoft's Exploitability Assessment should also be factored into prioritizing patches.

CVE-2020-1058 and CVE-2020-1060 are both examples. While neither are rated as Critical in severity, it's possible they will be used by attackers in the wild. Both are RCE flaws in VBScript and ranked Important. Microsoft considers both "Exploitation More Likely." If exploited, these flaws could allow an attacker to gain the same rights as the current user. The versatility of VBScript lends itself to a variety of attack vectors, says Chris Hass, director of information security and research with Automox.

"An attacker could host a malicious webpage with a specially crafted payload to exploit any user visiting the page using IE, inject code into a compromised webpage, or even launch a malvertising campaign to serve the payload via malicious advertisements on popular websites," says Hass. Someone could also embed an Active X control object in an application or Office file, which could be leveraged in a phishing campaign to gain code execution on a target machine.

Related Content:


Learn from industry experts in a setting that is conducive to interaction and conversation about how to prepare for that "really  bad day" in cybersecurity. Click for more information and to register
Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
The client API authentication mechanism in Pexip Infinity before 10 allows remote attackers to gain privileges via a crafted request.
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
An incomplete SSL server certification validation vulnerability in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products could allow an attacker to combine this vulnerability with another attack to trick an affected client into downloading a malicious update instead of the expected one. CW...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-24
An incomplete SSL server certification validation vulnerability in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products could allow an attacker to combine this vulnerability with another attack to trick an affected client into downloading a malicious update instead of the expected one. CW...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
An issue was discovered in Xen through 4.14.x. x86 PV guest kernels can experience denial of service via SYSENTER. The SYSENTER instruction leaves various state sanitization activities to software. One of Xen's sanitization paths injects a #GP fault, and incorrectly delivers it twice to the guest. T...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
An issue was discovered in Xen through 4.14.x. There is mishandling of the constraint that once-valid event channels may not turn invalid. Logic in the handling of event channel operations in Xen assumes that an event channel, once valid, will not become invalid over the life time of a guest. Howeve...