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Solitary MS update lances critical Windows risk

Oracle patches own January Black Tuesday

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The solitary security update in the latest edition of Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday still poses a critical risk.

The security patch addresses three severe vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol. All versions of Windows need patches, although the flaw poses a lesser risk to Vista and Windows 2008 than to earlier versions of Windows.

The flaw creates a possible mechanism for hackers or other swine to inject vulnerable code onto unpatched systems. Microsoft January bulleting can be found here.

The light sprinkling of patches to kick off 2009 follows a bumper crop of eight critical updates that addressed 28 vulnerabilities. Security patching tools firm Lumension security notes that Microsoft's January updates failed to address a vulnerability in SQL Server. "Microsoft has published a workaround, however, it seems they will not correct the fundamental, architectural vulnerability," Lumension said.

While there might be little work on the Microsoft front, sys admins will have their hands full dealing with a bumper crop of 41 updates released by Oracle on Tuesday, as part of the enterprise software giant's quarterly bulletin. Oracle's Critical Patch Update for January 2009 matches its pre-billing and contains updates to multiple Oracle products.

Highlights include nine patches for Secure Backup, all of might be exploited remotely without authentication. By contrast none of the ten Oracle Database bulletins deals with flaws that pose a direct risk of hacking attacks over the internet.

Also worth noting are four patches for Oracle Application Server, two of which are critical, and five patches for Oracle's BEA enterprise software, all of which pose a remote exploitation risk.

Oracle's summary, which contains a patching table that helps to make sense of the patch batch, can be found here. ®

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