Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 10:52

Microsoft drops a bundle on Patch Tuesday

Microsoft has issued a baker's dozen security bulletins covering 26 vulnerabilities in Windows and Office.

As expected, Microsoft has released a slew of security bulletins and associated patches this month. All currently supported versions of Windows are affected by at least one vulnerability, as are Office XP, 2003 and 2004.

Five of the Windows bulletins are rated critical.

They concern vulnerabilities in the SMB client, Windows Shell Handler, ActiveX controls, the TCP/IP stack, and DirectShow. Each of these could allow remote code execution.

Another five Windows bulletins are rated important.

They involve Windows Server Hyper-V (denial of service), Windows Client/Server Run-time Subsystem (elevation of privilege), SMB Server (various issues, including the potential for remote code execution), Kerberos (denial of service), and the Windows Kernel (elevation of privilege).

More on the Windows and Office patches on page 2.

The final Windows bulletin is rated moderate: a vulnerability in Paint could allow remote code execution if a maliciously crafted JPEG image is opened.

Nine of those eleven bulletins are applicable to Windows 2000, eight to Windows XP, nine to Server 2003, eight to Server 2008, five to Server 2008 R2, six to Vista, and five to Windows 7.

Both Office vulnerabilities are rated important, even though they could allow remote code execution. A user would have to open a maliciously crafted document for the vulnerabilities to come into play.

One of the bulletins covers Office as a whole, but only affects Office XP and Office 2004. The other is specific to PowerPoint and concerns PowerPoint 2002 (from Office XP), PowerPoint 2003, and PowerPoint 2004.

Microsoft officials have warned that the most critical and readily exploited issues are those concerning DirectShow, the Shell Handler, and the SMB client.

They also advise that if necessary, priority should also be given to the Windows Kernel and ActiveX killbits updates. That said, the overarching recommendation is that "that customers deploy all security updates as soon as possible."

What else was among the Patch Tuesday update? Please read on.

The good news is that neither Microsoft nor security vendor Sophos has detected any attacks on any of the vulnerabilities fixed by this month's patches. Proofs of concept for a few of them already exist.

The Microsoft Response Center warns at least one working exploit for the DirectShow issue is likely within the next 30 days, and that working exploits for several of the other vulnerabilities are also likely.

In addition, Microsoft released an updated version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool, and updates for the Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter and the Rights Management Services Client for XP, Server 2003, Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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