Feeds

Microsoft Patch Tuesday: The '90s called. It wants its 'Ping of Death' back

Wobbly IPv6 Windows stack gets extra support

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft has pushed out eight advisories as part of the August edition of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle. With just three critical patches, the most interesting thing about this week's batch is the return of the "Ping of Death" in the form of a stability bug in the Windows IPv6 stack.

The critical updates offer new versions of IE and Exchange, as well as critical fixes for the soon-to-be-retired Windows XP. Collectively, this week's rollout covers 23 vulns.

The highest priority for patching is MS13-059, a cumulative update for Microsoft's browser software that fixes 11 vulnerabilities in all versions of IE – from IE6 to IE10 – including on Windows RT.

Redmond warns that creating exploits to attack unpatched systems would not be difficult, even though the flaws are yet to come under active attack.

A second critical update (MS13-061) addresses three vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange stemming from bugs in a third-party library, Outside In from Oracle, included in Redmond's enterprise-focused email server software.

Last of the critical batch is a security update for Windows XP (MS13-060). Windows XP loses support in April 2014, at which point there will be no more security updates. Up until then the soon-to-be-pensioned-off OS needs security updating like a Linux fan needs a date. The vulnerable Unicode Scripts Processor components patched by the update also appears in Server 2003.

The remaining five bulletins lower severity, and are all rated "important". Noteworthy in the quintet is an update that grapples with a Windows kernel vulnerability involving a flaw in address space layout randomisation (ASLR), a defence-in-depth measure, and a separate patch that tackles a stability problem in the Windows IPv6 stack that might easily lend itself to denial-of-service attacks against vulnerable networks.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of cloud security firm Qualys, said the flaw is akin to the type that facilitated the infamous late '90s vintage "Ping of Death" attack, which involved sending elongated packets to crash vulnerable web servers.

Kandek adds:

A few ICMPv6 packets with router advertisements requests can cause a denial-of-service vulnerability reminiscent of the famous "Ping of Death". It’s a good illustration of how much we still do not know about the stability of IPv6. We continue to recommend turning off IPv6 on workstations if your network is not engineered for its use.

The remaining three important bulletins cover "important" security bugs in Windows and Active Directory.

Microsoft's August bulletin is here. A much-easier-to-fathom graphical overview from the SAN Institute's Internet Storm Centre is here.

Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7, described the overall patch load this month from Redmond as "moderate".

"The August 2013 Patch Tuesday advance notification includes a slightly higher volume of fixes than last month, but only three of eight are critical, which is down from July’s six of seven critical fixes," Barrett said. "However, in a reversal from last month, the advisories are focused on Windows operating system patches, plus one Exchange issue." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.