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'Holey code, Batman!' Microsoft to patch 12 vulns on Tuesday

Christmas zero-day flaw not included

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Microsoft has issued its pre–Patch Tuesday report, saying it will issue seven patches fixing 12 code flaws next week – but it won't provide a permanent fix for the exploit discovered during the recent holidays that is already being used in the wild.

"With 2013 starting on a Tuesday, our monthly bulletin release is upon us a bit earlier than usual," says Dustin Childs, group manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing."

"Next Tuesday we'll release seven bulletins; two Critical and five Important, which address 12 vulnerabilities. The Critical-rated bulletins address issues in Microsoft Windows, Office, Developer Tools and Microsoft Server Software."

The full patches, along with advisory notices for IT managers on the recommended deployment strategy, will be released on January 8 at 10am PST (6pm UTC.)

One rather glaring omission from the list, however, are any fixes for the recently discovered problems with Internet Explorer. Over the Christmas/Saturnalia/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Chanukah holidays, researchers at FireEye found a flaw that allows code injection via infected websites, and warned that it is currently being exploited by online criminals.

Microsoft issued a security alert on the matter on December 29, two days after the full report, and issued a workaround for the problem that should keep browsers safe. But this evidently wasn't enough time to get a proper fix out there.

Cynics might suggest that the flaw isn't too high on Microsoft's To Do list since it only affects older versions of its browser. But, given the amount of testing required for each new patch across all Microsoft's operating systems, it was unlikely we'd see a full patch for the most recent flaw this month.

Questions will be asked if it isn't sorted out by next month, however. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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