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Microsoft's Patch Tuesday fixes record number of flaws

SSL spoof bug finally put to rest

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft on Tuesday patched a record number of security holes in its Windows operating systems and other software, a haul that included at least one security flaw that was already under attack in the wild.

One of the updates fixed a vulnerability in Windows Media Runtime that allows an attacker to remotely execute malware by tricking a user into playing a booby-trapped audio or video file. A few hours after its release, a Microsoft spokesman said company researchers have "seen limited attacks trying to use the reported vulnerability."

The bug is rated critical on every version of Windows.

A separate update fixed a bug that left users of the Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari for Windows browsers vulnerable to forged secure sockets layer certificates. The flaw in Microsoft's CryptoAPI, was disclosed 10 weeks ago, but took on more urgency after a hacker published a counterfeit certificate for PayPal that made it trivial for someone mounting a man-in-the-middle attack to impersonate the online payment processor.

The patch batch also included a fix the SMB2 file-sharing technology that was added to Vista and later versions of Windows. Four weeks ago, white-hat hackers developed a reliable way to target the critical vulnerability, but there still are no reports of it being exploited in the wild.

As always, Microsoft provides a visual chart that provides a summary of the releases, though you may prefer this roundup from the Sans Internet Storm Center. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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