System administrators and IT security pros can take bit of a breather: Microsoft issued a comparatively light set of patches for this edition of its monthly release of software vulnerability fixes.
"It's a boring Patch Tuesday this month, and that's an excellent thing for IT security teams because there won't be a mad dog rush to get this month's patches deployed," wrote Andrew Storms, director of security operations for security firm nCircle, in an email statement.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this month's issuance of patches was a high profile vulnerability that did not get covered. Many expected Microsoft to fix the Pwn2Own Internet Explorer bug unearthed earlier this year during a hacker contest, but such a fix was not included in this round. "This puts them quite a bit behind other browsers that already patched their Pwn2Own bugs," Storms noted.
Two of the bulletins in this month's collection were designated as critical, and the remaining seven were labelled as important. Windows desktop and server editions, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint and Windows Defender all need to be updated.
Security firms did advise updating Internet Explorer with the critical patches Microsoft released this month for the browser, both within the MS13-028 bulletin, affecting all supported versions of Internet Explorer, versions 6 through 10. "Attackers will be looking into how to exploit these two vulnerabilities, since attackers can target multiple versions of Internet Explorer through the use of only a couple vulnerabilities. So it is important to deploy this patch as soon as possible," wrote Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer for security firm BeyondTrust in his own analysis.
The other critical bulletin covered the Microsoft Remote Desktop client, MS13-029. This vulnerability exists in the client's ActiveX control, and could give attackers the ability to execute arbitrary code on the user's machine. Fortunately, this vulnerability is not in the latest version of Microsoft Remote Desktop client, which reduces to a considerable extent the affected number of machines, according to nCircle.
Microsoft is hosting a webcast to address customer questions about this round of patches on April 10.