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Zero-day backdoors to be left unplugged on Patch Tuesday

Microsoft may have to fix vulns later in month

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Microsoft plans to release two updates – one critical – as part of the next edition of its Patch Tuesday security bulletin cycle on 11 January.

The critical vulnerability affects all supported versions of Windows (including Windows 7 and 2008R2) while the less serious fix is particular to a flaw that's restricted to Windows Vista. The light patch batch omits fixes for two recently discovered zero-day vulnerabilities in Windows, separate bugs in Windows Graphics Rendering Engine and an earlier Internet Explorer flaw.

Microsoft has issued mitigation advice covering both flaws, each of which has been the subject of targeted attacks, pending the availability of more comprehensive fixes.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of patch management firm Qualys, said that the security community is also discussing two additional vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. Proof of concept code for these flaws validates concerns that each is genuine. "We expect Microsoft to acknowledge them soon," Kandek said.

The security veteran concludes that, all things considered, it is probable that the bulletins due on Tuesday will not be the only security fixes from Microsoft this month. Microsoft periodically releases out-of-band fixes, normally after a vulnerability either is widely exploited or the subject of targeted attacks against important customers, such as government agencies. ®

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