Feeds

MS January patch update omits critical Word fix

Half measures

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.