For starters, Microsoft will patch critical vulnerabilities in all supported versions of Windows--from Windows XP service pack 3 and Windows Server 2003 SP2, through to Windows 7 for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Microsoft defines critical vulnerabilities as bugs "whose exploitation could allow the propagation of an Internet worm without user action."
Critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 Client, Microsoft's rich media browser plug-in Silverlight, as well as the .NET Framework will also be patched. Finally, Internet Explorer--versions 6, 7, 8, and 9--will see multiple patches for critical vulnerabilities.
Meanwhile, versions of Excel in Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, and Microsoft Office for Mac will get patches for important vulnerabilities, which are defined as bugs that could lead to data theft or poor processing resource availability. Numerous versions of SQL Server, the .NET framework, and Visual Studio also have important vulnerabilities.
"All in all, [it's] a big update and system administrators will need to plan closely as both workstations and servers are affected by the critical bulletins. In addition, applications such as Excel, Adobe Reader, and Java will have to be taken into account this month," said Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, in a blog post.
On a related note, Microsoft next week also will release an updated version of its Malicious Software Removal Tool.
The same day as Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, Adobe--as part of its quarterly patching cycle--will release patches for critical security vulnerabilities in its products. Products to be patched include Adobe Reader X (10.0.1) for Windows, Adobe Reader X (10.0.3) for Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 9.4.3 (and earlier versions) for Windows and Macintosh. In addition, for both Windows and Macintosh versions of its software, it will patch Adobe Acrobat X (10.0.3) and Adobe Acrobat 9.4.2 (and earlier versions).
On Monday, Adobe released an out-of-band patch for Adobe Flash Player to counter an in-the-wild attack that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the plug-in.
Also this week, Oracle released a critical patch update for Java SE covering JDK and JRE version 6 (update 25 and earlier), JDK 5.0 (update 29 and earlier), and SDK (1.4.2_31 and earlier). The update contained new 17 Java SE patches, five affecting client/service deployments, one for server deployments, and 11 for client deployments.
According to Oracle, "all of these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password."
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