Feeds

Last patch train of the decade rolls in from Redmond

Zero-day IE fix stars in Black Tuesday update

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A critical update addressing a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer starred among the six bulletins published by Microsoft on Tuesday, as part of Redmond's last Black Tuesday update of the decade.

Microsoft closed out 2009 with six security bulletins - three rated "critical" and three classified as "important" - tackling 12 security vulns. The critical IE patch (MS09-072) addressed five vulnerabilities, including a zero-day bug that had become the target of hacking attacks. The other two critical updates address serious bugs in Windows and Microsoft Project, each of which created a possible mechanism for hackers to load malware onto vulnerable systems.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations at patching specialist nCircle, notes that the IE update includes fixes for two previously undisclosed bugs that only affect IE8, the newest browser from Microsoft. He suggests the appearance of flaws peculiar to the latest, supposedly most secure version of IE will focus attention on Redmond's secure code development practices.

"There's no way for Microsoft to avoid the speculation that these bugs should have been found during the software development and quality assurance cycle, but the reality is that this was bound to happen," Storms said. "Every product has bugs and more features means greater attack surfaces. It is depressing for both Microsoft and its customers though that it happened so quickly."

"What's missing from today's patch is the fix for an outstanding denial of service attack that affects Microsoft's newest operating systems; Windows 7 and 2008 Server," Storms added.

Microsoft's security advisory is here. A more graphical and easy-to-understand overview, courtesy of the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre, can be found here.

Microsoft's security gnomes released a total of 74 security bulletins this year, roughly in par with the previous annual tallies. McAfee reports that Redmond released 77 bulletins in 2008, 69 in 2007, and 78 in 2006. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches
CloudPassage points to 'pervasive' threat of Bash bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.