Windows kernel bug-squish, IE update star in July Patch Tuesday
Plus: Dodgy app unpatched for 180 days? We'll kick it out of Marketplace
Microsoft's Patch Tuesday for July landed overnight with a bumper crop of seven bulletins, six of which cover critical flaws that carry remote code execution risks.
And the Windows 8 giant today revealed that one of these, CVE-2013-3163, is currently under active attack online.
Every supported operating system, every version of MS Office, Lync, Silverlight, Visual Studio and .NET will need patching - creating plenty of work for sysadmins worldwide.
The patch batch grapples with a total of 34 vulnerabilities, with the emphasis very firmly on workstation (PC) rather than server software.
Microsoft revised the latter, bulletin 55, just after publication to announce that it is "aware of targeted attacks attempting to exploit the vulnerability described in CVE-2013-3163 through Internet Explorer 8". Redmond said that the application of the update would protect customers from any exploits of the vuln.
Also, for the first time ever, Microsoft is addressing a single vulnerability (CVE-2013-3129) in three different advisories (MS13-052, MS13-053, and MS13-054).
"This issue relates to TrueType Font processing and legitimately affects different components," explained Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7.
"By splitting this out, Microsoft is directly addressing a complaint about previous 'rolled up' advisories where it was difficult to properly prioritise the multiple patches required to remediate the problem, and component patches were frequently missed."
A visual overview of the patching menu for July can be found in a blog post by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre here.
Crap apps and Flash patch dash
Microsoft also announced a policy change related to the Windows marketplace. In future, any "app" that is affected by a security issue will be removed from the store if it is not patched within 180 days of confirmation of a potential problem. Security watchers will be interested to see in Google or Apple adopt a similar policy.
"Users of Internet Explorer 10 and Google Chrome already have [Flash] updates integrated and do not need to worry about installing the new version themselves," notes Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of cloud security firm Qualys.
"Everybody else, including Mac OS X users, should apply this critical update as quickly as possible."
Those at the security coalface will have little time to kick back after installing these updates. Oracle will be releasing their quarterly update for all of their software (except Java) next week on Tuesday, 19 July. ®