Feeds

Microsoft zero-days said to target Office and Windows

Another Patch Tuesday marred

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Hot on the heels of yesterday's batch of updates from Microsoft patching five critical Windows vulnerabilities come reports of new zero-day exploits, some that appear to allow the commandeering of a PC. They underscore a growing pattern in which miscreants release their payloads shortly before or after Patch Tuesday.

According to an entry on the McAfee Avert Labs blog, "several" attacks exploiting weaknesses in Office were released in security forums on Monday. Also making the rounds is proof-of-concept code that attacks Windows.

Two of the flaws - one in Office and the other in Windows - involve heap overflow flaws and appear to allow the execution of code on a victim's machine. The Windows POC targets the handling of .HLP files. McAfee didn't provide details on the Office flaws, except to say that all but one appeared to result in a pesky, but much less critical, denial of service.

Microsoft says it is investigating the reports and isn't aware of any customers being targeted by the flaws. It also reiterated an advisory deeming .HLP files as unsafe unless the user is assured they are not malicious.

Among others, yesterday's patch binge fixed flaws in Universal Plug and Play, Windows CSRSS, Microsoft Agent and Microsoft Content Management Server. It also repaired a bug in last week's emergency patch of a critical hole in the way Windows processed animated cursors. Both the cursor vulnerability and CSRSS patch affected Windows Vista, which Microsoft has called its most secure operating system ever.

The simultaneous release of the patches and new zero-days is most likely not by accident. Malicious hackers know Microsoft is reluctant to issue out-of-schedule updates, so timing the release of malware around Patch Tuesday helps ensure a longer shelf life for their precious zero-day exploits. Prior to yesterday's report, Office already suffered from at least two zero-day vulnerabilities, according to eEye Security's zero-day tracker.

According to McAfee, the tally of patches released to date this year well exceeds the number for this time in 2006. Which either means the software behemoth is getting better at identifying and repairing flaws or its security assurances are only so much hot air. ®

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
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
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'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.