Microsoft's Patch Tuesday gives XP attackers a roadmap
Microsoft has issued eight bulletins that fix 13 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office
IDG News Service - For the latest round of Microsoft's monthly collection of software patches, the company has fixed critical issues in Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows that have already been used by malicious attackers to compromised systems.
It is the software that Microsoft has not patched this month that is probably of greatest interest to attackers.
Overall, Microsoft has issued eight bulletins this month, fixing 13 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office.
None of these fixes are for Windows XP or Office 2003, both of which Microsoft stopped supporting in April (except for those customers with extended support contracts). Many of the patches in this month's collection do fix code vulnerabilities that probably originated in Windows XP or Office 2003, if not in earlier versions.
Studying what is being fixed with each month's round of patches could give attackers an easy entry point into these older, now unsupported, systems, because these older systems probably have the same vulnerabilities, said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer for IT security firm Qualys. Qualys estimated that eight of the 10 patches this month could apply to XP or Office 2003.
The good news is that the installed base of Windows XP continues to shrink. According to Qualys data, about 8 percent of its customers use XP, down from 10 percent in April.
Three of the bulletins Microsoft lists as critical, and should be fixed as quickly as possible. The rest are marked as important.
Administrators should first take a look at Bulletin MS14-029, Kandek advised.
This patch addresses two vulnerabilities in IE that could be used to remotely execute malicious code. Google researchers have already found malicious programs on the Web that exploit this vulnerability.
"You want to patch this one very quickly. The attack is already out there. It may not be widely publicized yet but typically these attacks spread very quickly," Kandek said.
Installing the patches for MS14-029 will install the MS14-021 as well, though you need to first install the cumulative update for IE that Microsoft issued last month, Kandek advised.
Although it was marked as important rather than critical, MS14-027 for Windows should be reviewed closely by administrators, Kandek advised. A fault in the Windows shell interface could allow a user at the computer's terminal gain administrative privileges with the right set of code. Like the two IE vulnerabilities, this one has already been exploited by malware, Kandek said.
Also of concern for Windows users is MS14-025, due to how it could be easily exploited, Kandek said. This flaw stores credentials in Windows group policies preferences, where they can be easily accessed.
Windows XP lives
- XPocalypse, not now
- Windows XP hack resurrects patches for retired OS
- Bug bounty program outs 7-month-old IE zero-day
- CA Technologies releases free XP migration tool
- Windows XP's U.S. farewell tour to last most of '14
- Microsoft sticks to vow, leaves XP exposed to ongoing attacks
- Microsoft's Patch Tuesday gives XP attackers a roadmap
- Microsoft: We're serious this time; XP's dead to us
- Windows XP die-hards can slash attack risk by dumping IE
- Hackers now crave patches, and Microsoft's giving them just what they want
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Advanced Threat Defense: A Comprehensive Approach In this interview, Peter George, president, General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, explains why we need more than anti-malware, and what constitutes a comprehensive...
- Who's Spying on You? You're aware of the threats of malware to your business but what about the ever-changing ground rules? Cybercriminals today are launching attacks against...
- Case Study Adopting ITSM Tech to Support ITIL Initiatives CIO Bart Murphy Improves Service Delivery while Lowering Costs by consolidating services across 6 business units.
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt. All Malware and Vulnerabilities White Papers | Webcasts