Feeds

MS January patch update omits critical Word fix

Half measures

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.