Feeds

Critical Outlook and Excel bugs star in March Patch Tuesday

Black Tuesday updates focus on MS Office

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Microsoft released four updates on Tuesday as part of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle.

The quartet of updates - all critical - concentrates on Microsoft Office and addresses 12 distinct vulnerabilities. The most pressing of these (MS08-014) covers patches for Excel against vulnerabilities that have become the focus of recent hacker attacks. Updates to all supported versions of Outlook also merit close attention.

The other two advisories cover vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Web Components.

"Because all four of the patches affect Microsoft Office, these patches cannot be ignored or delayed. The broad install base of Microsoft Office makes Office vulnerabilities an enticing target for hackers and cyber criminals," said Alan Bentley, VP in EMEA of patching specialist Lumension.

Bentley added that updating vulnerable Outlook installations ought to be a priority for sys admins. The update to Outlook covers a vulnerability in parsing of "mailto:" URIs that allows malware to be injected onto targeted systems.

"Microsoft Outlook is the dominant email client in use today, and email is also one of the most common attack vehicles used by hackers against organisations. This makes MS08-015 a critical, remote-code-execution vulnerability which affects virtually all versions of Outlook, the biggest priority for IT administrators this Patch Tuesday," he added.

Microsoft's summary of its March patch batch can be found here.

As usual, the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre (ISC) has published an easy to understand graphical overview here. ISC notes that only the Excel bugs have become the target of hacking attack, making them the highest patching priority.

Symantec, by contrast, reckons the advisory to Microsoft Office Web Components is potentially the worst of the bunch.

Given this divergence of opinion, the safest option would be to apply all four critical updates sooner rather than later. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.