Five important fixes in MS December patch batch

Buffer overflow bugs, mostly

Microsoft's regular monthly patch delivery slipped into port yesterday carrying five new patches, each described by Redmond as "important".

First up there's a flaw (MS04-041) in WordPad that potentially allows malicious code to be executed. All flavours of Windows (XP, 2000, 2003 and NT) need patching. A vulnerability (MS04-043) in the HyperTerminal component of Windows similarly affects all versions of Windows.

But a security bug in DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) that might allow remote code execution and denial of service affects only Windows NT (MS04-042).

Next up we have Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel and Local Security Authority Subsystem (LSASS) which create a means for hackers to elevate their privileges (MS04-044). Again all flavours of Windows are affected.

Lastly, there a vulnerability in Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) that could allow remote code execution (MS04-045).

Buffer overflow bugs are the culprit for almost all of these vulnerabilities.

Microsoft's most important December patch came earlier this month when it broke with its normal cycle to release a fix for the IFRAME vulnerability in IE, infamously exploited by the Bofra worm. Unsurprisingly this fix (MS04-040) is a "critical" update for all versions of Windows bar Win XP SP2 and Windows 2003. ®

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