Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 17:40

Patch Tuesday patches 34 vulnerabilities in Microsoft products

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As expected, Microsoft has released seven security bulletins covering issues with Windows and other software, notably Internet Explorer. There's also a policy change regarding vulnerabilities in software sold through the company's various online stores.

Microsoft gave the customary advance warning that there were six critical and one important security bulletin coming this week.

Now they are here, we know that 34 vulnerabilities have been addressed in Windows, Internet Explorer, .NET Framework, Silverlight, GDI+ and Windows Defender.

The nature of the GDI+ issue means that Office, Visual Studio and Lync need to be patched.

As usual, Microsoft recommends applying all the security updates as soon as possible.

But if you do need to prioritise, the company says the ones to look at first are MS13-053 (Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow Remote Code Execution - eight vulnerabilities; affects XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows RT, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, and Server 2012; Server Core installations are affected) and MS13-055 (Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer - 17 vulnerabilities; affects Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10).

Sophos senior security advisor, Chester Wisniewski, said of MS13-053: "Fix this one quick, as it has been used in targeted attacks and can be exploited through multiple vectors."

In related news, Microsoft unveiled a new policy requiring developers of applications sold in the Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, Office Store, and Azure Marketplace to fix security vulnerabilities within 180 days even if the vulnerability is not under active attack.

While this seems largely directed towards fixes in Microsoft developer tools and frameworks (for example, apps may need to be rebuilt with a later version of a tool that was causing the vulnerability), but it also applies to app-specific vulnerabilities reported to developers.

If a developer does not respond appropriately to a vulnerability report, the discoverer is invited to contact Microsoft at secure#microsoft.com.

Microsoft officials pointed out: "To date, no apps have come close to exceeding this deadline", and also that Microsoft reserves the right to make exceptions to the policy, for example if multiple developers are affected or if there is a good reason for a fix to take longer.

In the event the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild, all bets are off and Microsoft may remove the app from the store more quickly, though the company will work with the developer to make an update available as soon as possible.


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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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