Feeds

MS January patch update omits critical Word fix

Half measures

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft released four patches on Tuesday - half the number initially expected - that address a number of critical flaws in its Windows OS, Outlook and Office software.

None of the three is critical and one important security fix published by Microsoft addresses a trio of Word flaws, which have been left flapping since early December.

One of the patches Microsoft did release addresses a slew of vulnerabilities in Excel that create a means for hackers to load malware onto vulnerable systems (MS07-002).

Another critical patch (MS07-003) addresses flaws in Microsoft Outlook that carries a similar risk while the last of the trio aims to lance security bugs in Microsoft's implementation of Vector Markup Language in Windows ((MS07-004) that also carry the risk of remote code execution.

Redmond also released a fix for a less severe (important) bug in Microsoft Office 2003's Brazilian Portuguese grammar checker.

Security vendors reckon the need to test the Word patches more comprehensively is behind Redmond's decision to hold back these fixes.

"Microsoft held back on four anticipated patches prior to general release this month. Instead, Microsoft released half of what it promised - three sets of critical patches and one important patch, fixing nine security bugs. While this may come as a surprise to some IT administrators, Microsoft is taking a cautionary approach with its patch release to ensure minimal business impact and disruption to its customers," said Alan Bentley, managing director of patch management firm PatchLink.

"Testing patches is absolutely critical but an often overlooked element of patch management process. Microsoft did the right thing in holding back the four patches that most likely didn’t pass the QA(Quality Assurance) testing before releasing them to its large user base," he added.

Since exploits are available for the Outlook and VML flaws applying patches that address these security flaws ought to be the main priority for sys admins, PatchLink advises.

Microsoft's summary of its security patches can be found here and there's more information of the relative severity of the vulnerabilities, via the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.