Feeds

Microsoft Santa gifts you with 5 critical fixes in Xmas Patch Tuesday

Still using Word? You'll want to read this

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

December's Patch Tuesday brought seven bulletins from Microsoft, five of which cover critical security vulnerabilities.

A critical update for MS Word (MS12-079) is rated by security watchers as the most important of the batch. A flaw in Rich Text Format (RTF) processing poses a severe risk because Microsoft Outlook automatically displays the malicious text in the Preview Pane - without requiring user interaction.

Another critical update (MS12-077) tackles security bugs in Internet Explorer 9 and 10, and creates a risk of drive-by download attacks involving tricking users into visiting websites contaminated with malicious code.

A further critical update fixes a vulnerability in Windows file-handling component while the remaining items on the critical list grapple with vulnerabilities in Windows kernel-mode drivers involving font handling and security bugs in Microsoft Exchange, arising from the inclusion of buggy versions of Oracle Outside In file conversion software.

A graphical overview of the patches can be found in a post by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre blog here. Microsoft's bulletin is here.

Trustwave SpiderLabs has written a blog post comparing this week's patch batch to different brands of beer. IE updates are compared to Guinness Draught while the remote code execution in kernel-mode drivers is racked alongside 120 Minute IPA.

Microsoft also used Patch Tuesday to publish a new whitepaper on defensive techniques against "Pass the Hash" attacks. "Pass the Hash" is a technique used by attackers after the initial exploit, in which they use the stored password hashes to gain access to other machines in a local network. Such stepping stone attacks are standard network hacking practice, so defending against them using better configuration practices makes a lot of sense.

The seven bulletins in December bring the total count for 2012 to 83, a significant reduction on the 100 bulletins in 2011 and even more from the 2010 count, which ended with 106 bulletins.

Adobe recently began co-ordinating its security patch releases with Microsoft's output. Tuesday offered security updates to Adobe ColdFusion 10 (and earlier) and Flash Player. The Flash update is configuration dependent, but can be critical, while the Cold Fusion security patch is given the lower status of "important". ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.