Feeds

MS plugs 'highly exploitable' IE 9 hole in November Patch Tuesday

Plus 3 jabs for Win 8 baby ... can they ward off VUPEN?

The essential guide to IT transformation

November's Patch Tuesday brought six updates, four of them critical, starring fixes for Windows 8 and a patch that addresses a highly exploitable vulnerability in IE 9.

Vulnerability management firm Qualys rates the Internet Explorer update (MS12-071) as easily the most urgent. Left unpatched, the set of four flaws easily lend themselves to exploitation through drive-by download style attacks. Microsoft rates its exploitability as "1," which means that it is relatively easy to develop malicious code.

Three vulnerabilities in the Windows kernel, including a critical font-handling module flaw, are tackled by the MS12-075 update. Bugs in the Windows Shell are also on the critical list. Another bulletin, MS12-074, addresses five vulnerabilities in the .NET framework - one of them critical.

But .NET applications are turned off by default, so Qualys argues that a file format vulnerability in Microsoft Excel, which Microsoft rates as "important", might actually be a bigger risk. "We think any vulnerability in a popular application that allows Remote Code Execution should be high on any IT administrator's list to fix," writes Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys. "Excel 2013, Microsoft's newest version, published just this year, is the only version of Excel not affected. All other versions of Excel should apply this patch."

Windows 8 debuted last month with a number of security improvements. The operating system already needs patching because the infant OS is affected by three of this month's vulnerabilities. It's unclear if any of the three blocks a remote code execution bug which exploit merchants VUPEN bragged about discovering just days after the release.

Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle, characterised needing to patch Windows 8 so soon after its release as about as surprising as having to give a toddler its first round of inoculations.

"Much of the core operating system is reused from version to version, even in new releases, and all software has bugs," Storms said. "These factors, combined with security researchers that love to find and report bugs in the latest software version, are reasons for the number of bulletins for Windows 8. This should surprise no one."

Microsoft's security bulletin notice, which has the full details of the runners and riders in this month's release, can be found here. A more readable patching matrix from the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre is here.

The security updates from Microsoft come hot on the heels of patches for Adobe Flash and Apple Quicktime, third-party applications that are frequently targeted for attack using cybercrime tools such as the infamous BlackHole exploit kit. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.