Microsoft preps monster security update for next week
Will patch near-record 57 bugs in IE, Windows, Office and Exchange Server
Computerworld - Microsoft today said it will issue 12 security updates next week, including two for Internet Explorer (IE), that will patch a near-record 57 vulnerabilities in the browser, Windows, Office and the enterprise-critical Exchange Server email software.
"These are some serious numbers," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle, referring to the 57 bugs Microsoft plans to quash Feb. 12.
And they're nearly a record, coming close to the all-time Patch Tuesday tally of 64 flaws, all patched with fixes in April 2011.
Five of the 12 updates will be pegged as "critical," Microsoft's highest threat rating, while the remainder will be labeled "important," the next step below critical.
Two of the five critical updates will address vulnerabilities in Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Windows Vista. Among the important updates, five will affect Windows 7, four Windows 8, and three each for XP SP3 and Windows RT. The latter is the limited-functionality edition designed for tablets, and the one that powers Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet.
But what caught Storms' eye were the two separate updates for IE, both tagged as critical, that will patch IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9 and the latest browser, IE10.
"This is the first time I've seen them do this," said Storms of the one-two punch. "Unless there's been an 'out-of-band' update for IE, they've never released more than one update [for the browser] in a month."
Storms struggled to come up with ideas why Microsoft split what could have been one, albeit larger, update. "Why not just a cumulative update for IE?" he asked. "I certainly expect to see an interesting blog post next week with some long, convoluted explanation."
The most likely place where Microsoft would offer insight into why it crafted two IE updates is its Security Research & Defense blog, which regularly posts entries about complex or unusual updates from that month's Patch Tuesday.
The IE double-whammy could help enterprises manage patching next week. Or it could hurt them. "I can see it both ways," Storms said. "It may be more difficult because you have to test two updates. But it's also possible that they split them because one has more risk than the other." In the latter instance, enterprises will have more flexibility than usual, he said, and will be able to decide whether to apply only one, both or even neither.
"I can see that, but I still don't understand why they didn't put [all the patches] in one bulletin and wrap installation with some logic," said Storms. "[The only thing I can think of] is one bulletin is for the core of IE, and one is for something used by IE."
- Warning: Cloud Data at Risk Experts agree that relying on SaaS vendors to backup and restore your data is dangerous. Yet that's exactly what huge portions of the...
- The Opportunities and Challenges of the Cloud In this report F5 poses questions to IDC analysts, Sally Hudson and Phil Hochmuth, on behalf of F5's customers to better understand the...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- The Truth About Cloud Security "Security" is the number one issue holding business leaders back from the cloud. But does the reality match the perception?
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!