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Microsoft seals up Windows zero-day flaw in April Patch Tuesday

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Microsoft released six bulletins on Tuesday to fix a total of 11 vulnerabilities, one of which has become the target of active attacks against unpatched applications.

One of the four critical patches in the batch – MS12-027 – addresses an Active X issue that impacts numerous application and creates a mechanism to drop malware onto vulnerable Windows systems.

Microsoft warned of attacks in the wild against the zero-day flaw, which affects an unusually wide range of Microsoft products and Microsoft users. Applications affected include Office 2003 through 2010 on Windows; SQL Server 2000 through 2008 R2; BizTalk Server 2002; Commerce Server 2002 through 2009 R2; Visual FoxPro 8; and Visual Basic 6 Runtime.

"Attackers have been embedding the exploit for the underlying vulnerability CVE-2012-0158 into an RTF document and enticing the target into opening the file, most commonly by attaching it to an email," Wolfgang Kandek CTO at security services firm Qualys explains. "Another possible vector is through web browsing, but the component can potentially be attacked through any of the mentioned applications."

Other critical updates in the April batch include a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer (MS12-023), an update that addresses a critical vulnerability in the .NET XBAP (a browser based application module) and a patch that addresses a security flaw in Windows Authenticode that might be used to camouflage the presence of malware within application installer packages.

The IE update tackles four vulnerabilities and affects all supported versions of Microsoft's browser software. Redmond's security gnomes warn that an attack against the vulnerabilities covered by the update is likely within 30 days. The browsers update omits a fix for the vulnerability found during last month's PWN2OWN contest at CanSecWest 2012, which will probably be fixed by another IE update next month.

Microsoft's security bulletin summary for April can be found here.

In other patching news, Adobe released updates for both Adobe Reader 9 and 10 that plug crucial vulnerabilities on Tuesday. The cross-platform updates covers versions of the PDF reader application on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. ®

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