Feeds

No BEAST fix from Microsoft in December patch batch

Google, Adobe join Redmond in festive fix barrage

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Microsoft released 13 security bulletins addressing 19 vulnerabilities overnight, as part of a bumper final Patch Tuesday of the year.

Highlight of the baker's dozen is a patch for the the zero-day vulnerability exploited by Duqu (sibling of Stuxnet) worm back in October. Fixing the underlying flaw exploited by Duqu involves the resolution of a problem in how Windows kernel mode driver handles TrueType font files.

Aside from this critical update the batch includes an update to address a critical flaw n Windows Media Player. A cumulative security update of ActiveX kill bits is covered by the third, and final, critical update this month. The other ten bulletins address less severe (important) flaws in Windows, IE and Office. Altogether its a desktop-heavy patch batch, as you can see from Microsoft's summary here.

Microsoft originally promised 14 bulletins for the December edition of Patch Tuesday but one has been pulled, probably for quality control reasons. The original anticipated 14th bulletin was for the BEAST attack, but did not make it in time for the holidays due to a last minute software incompatibility uncovered during third party testing, security services firm Qualys reports. The absence of this fix means that Microsoft has issued a grand total of 99 bulletins this year, one less than the ton up that might have resulted in adverse headlines.

The BEAST attack affects web servers that support SSLv3/TLSv1 encryption. Although a patch will have to wait until January, at least, Microsoft has already published a workaround, which involves using the non affected RC4 cipher in SSL setups.

The Internet Storm Centre has produced a helpful graphical overview of the Black Tuesday updates from Microsoft here. It reckons that some of the flaws are more severe than Redmond's rating. By the ISC's count there are EIGHT critical updates. Either way you look at it, this is a lot of patching work even before we think about other security updates doing the rounds.

Google and Adobe are also joining in on the season of giving by releasing updates of their own. Adobe last week issued a critical updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat. The latest version of Adobe PDF-reading software, Adobe Reader X, is not affected by this vulnerability thanks to the use of sand-boxing technology. So users have the option to either upgrade or apply a patch to the earlier version of the software.

In addition, Google published an update to its Chrome browser that addresses 15 security flaws, including six high-risk vulnerabilities, on Tuesday. More details of what's fixed inside Chrome 16.0.912.63, the latest cross-platform version of the browser (yes Mac and Linux fans you ought to update too), can be found here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.