Feeds

Serious IE and Windows flaws left to fester

No Microsoft fix in sight

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft won't fix vulnerabilities in the latest versions of Internet Explorer or Windows during its regularly scheduled patch release on Tuesday, meaning users will have to wait at least another month to get updates that correct the security risks.

The software maker on Thursday said January's Patch Tuesday will include a single bulletin that fixes a vulnerability that carries a severity rating of "critical" in Windows 2000 and "low" in all other versions of the operating system. That's one of the slimmest ever offerings since Microsoft began the practice of releasing security fixes on the second Tuesday of every month.

That may lighten the load on IT admins, but it also means potentially serious vulnerabilities known to affect Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7 will be allowed to fester for at least another 28 days.

As reported previously by El Reg, the IE 8 bug can enable attacks against people browsing websites that are otherwise safe to view. The flaw can be exploited to introduce XSS, or cross-site scripting, exploits on webpages, allowing attackers to inject malicious content and code. Ironically, it resides in a feature Microsoft added to harden the browser against that very type of attack.

There are no reports of hackers targeting the vulnerability, but several months ago, Google began overriding the XSS protection on many of its web properties citing a "significant flaw" in the IE8 feature. Jeremiah Grossman, a web application expert at WhiteHat Security, offers guidance here on whether webmasters should follow Google's lead.

Also remaining unfixed is a bug that allows an attacker to completely lock up systems running windows 7 and Windows 2008R2. The flaw, which resides in the OSes' SMB, or server message block, can be triggered remotely by sending malformed traffic that specifies incoming packets that are smaller or larger than they actually are. SMB is a network protocol used to provide shared access to files and printers.

Microsoft's Jerry Bryant said the company is still working on a fix for the SMB flaw and is not aware of any in-the-wild attacks that target the weakness.

Also coming Tuesday is an update for a critical vulnerability in Adobe's Reader and Acrobat applications that allow attackers to remotely execute malicious code on people who open booby-trapped PDF files. That vulnerability is being actively exploited in attacks aimed at specific individuals. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

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
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
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
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
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
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?