Microsoft's January patch day has arrived, bringing with it a single security bulletin. It would be light work day for IT administrators but for the fact that both Adobe and Oracle have also released security patches today.
Further clouding the security picture, Intevydis, a security research company based in Russia, recently said that it planned to identify a series of zero-day server vulnerabilities over the next three weeks. To date, the company has released proof-of-concept exploit code for Sun Directory Server 7.0 and IBM Tivoli Directory Server 6.2
Microsoft's single patch, MS10-001, affects Windows 2000 through Windows 7. Its severity is rated "critical" for Windows 2000 and "low" for other Windows systems.
"Due to the memory model in Windows 2000, the vulnerability is critical on that version of the Windows operating system, all others receive a low severity rating," said Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek in an e-mailed statement. "The flaw can be exploited through any OpenType-enabled application such as Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, and Word by viewing a Web page or a document."
Microsoft is recommending that Windows 2000 customers deploy the patch immediately. The company credits Google's Tavis Ormandy with reporting the issue.
Adobe has released an update for a month-old critical vulnerability in Adobe Reader 9.2 and Acrobat 9.2, and Adobe Reader 8.1.7 and Acrobat 8.1.7 for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 9.2 for UNIX.
Ben Greenbaum, senior research manager with Symantec Security Response said in an e-mailed statement that this vulnerability is being actively exploited by attackers. "Attack attempts seemed to peak near the end of December and then drop off, but we're continuing to see limited attempts at exploitation, and more reliable exploits could still be developed," he said.
Oracle's Critical Patch Update, also just released, addresses 24 vulnerabilities in 7 of the company's enterprise products.
"The majority of the vulnerabilities are remotely exploitable without authentication and IT admins should be taking a close look at the exposure these products have in their networks," said Kandek. "In general database engines should have no necessity to be connected to open networks, but the application servers are very likely exposed."