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Microsoft offloads heap of critical fixes in 'ugly' Patch Tuesday

Sysadmins, take a deep breath...

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Microsoft is planning a high-impact edition of Patch Tuesday with seven bulletins this month - six of which cover critical flaws.

The less-than-magnificent seven cover all supported versions of Windows and every version of MS Office, as well as updates for Lync, Silverlight, Visual Studio and .NET. Internet Explorer, from IE6 on Windows XP to IE10 on Windows 8, and also on Windows RT, needs patching because of a critical vulnerability.

"This is one of the uglier releases we’ve seen from Microsoft this year," notes Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst at security tools firm Lumension. "To say that all Microsoft products are affected and everything is affected critically is not an understatement. It’s difficult to prioritize one or two because all the bulletins are significant this Patch Tuesday."

Details, as usual, have been withheld until the release of security updates next week but we do know that all six of the bulletins cover remote code injection risks - the worst class of vulnerability.

"It’s going to be a busy month for security teams everywhere," said Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7. "Three of the bulletins roughly match the profile of the issue Google’s Tavis Ormandy disclosed back in May, and given the publicity that got, I’d expect it to be patched in this round."

Ormandy's discovery involved a memory management problem in the win32k.sys component of Windows (CVE-2013-3660).

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at cloud security firm Qualys, said that the IE vulnerabilities, together with the a remote code execution flaw in Windows, Office and Lync, need prioritising during the upcoming security triage process.

Lumension's Henry also noted that July's batch will bring the total of critical bulletins so far during 2013 to 22. This represents a faster run rate than 2012, during which Redmond's security gnomes released 34 critical bulletins in total. ®

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