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Security holes in Word, the Windows kernel and Adobe Flash. Party like it's Patch Tuesday again

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Flaws in Microsoft Word and Office Web Apps that allow hackers to execute malicious code on vulnerable systems have been fixed in Redmond's latest monthly batch of security bug fixes.

In addition, two bugs at the kernel level of Windows XP and 7, and Server 2003 and 2008 R2, allow logged-in attackers to escalate their privileges to administrator-level. Security biz FireEye found the flaw in NDProxy.sys in XP and Server 2003 (MS14-002), which can be exploited if the system has "Routing and Remote Access" switched on.

The Win 7 and Server 2008 bug (MS14-003), found by a researcher called Xiaohong Shi, is triggered "when the Windows kernel-mode driver improperly uses window handle thread-owned objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges."

Meanwhile, members of the Google Security Team found and reported remote-code execution holes (MS14-001) in Microsoft Word 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 (including the RT build), plus Microsoft Office services and Web Apps on SharePoint Server 2010 and 2013, and Microsoft Web Apps Server 2013. A maliciously crafted Word document opened on a vulnerable system can exploit memory corruption vulnerabilities to run code as the logged-in user.

Finally, there's a denial-of-service flaw in biz management tool Dynamics AX, which could be used to block access to a targeted server.

All four of the January fixes were rated by Redmond as "important", which is third in Microsoft's four risk levels. While the flaws this month are not critical, users and administrators are advised to apply the updates if possible.

Adobe, meanwhile, is urging anyone still using Reader and Flash Player to install updates for the software on Windows, OS X and Linux. The upgrade address flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on an vulnerable system. There are also updates for Adobe AIR on Windows, OS X and Android, and Adobe Acrobat for Windows and OS X.

Adobe and Microsoft have not seen anyone exploiting the aforementioned security holes in the wild. ®

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