I hope Microsoft administrators had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday and New Years, because now it’s time for them to roll-up their sleeves and get back to work.
According to their advanced notification post, Microsoft plans to release seven security bulletins on Tuesday, January 10. Six of the bulletins fix flaws in Windows or its components, while the remaining bulletin corrects vulnerabilities in one of Microsoft’s developer tools. Microsoft only rates one of the Windows bulletins as Critical, while the rest are Important.
Microsoft Patch Day has become a bit routine over the years (which is a good thing for a patch cycle), but this one does have a slightly noteworthy addition. One of the Important Windows bulletins fixes a “Security Feature Bypass” vulnerability. These types of vulnerabilities don’t really let attackers gain control of your systems, they just bypass security features that might make it easier for attackers to exploit other flaws. As a security professional, I tend to find flaws in security systems interesting as we can learn from them as an industry (similar to the way that mathematicians hammering public crypto algorithms can result in stronger encryption systems).
As usually, I’d apply Microsoft’s Critical patches first. Lately, the order of severity Microsoft has reported in their summaries has matched mine. So I recommend following their order. As usual, we do recommend testing production server updates before applying them, though you can probably get away with allowing clients to auto-update (the quicker the better, as long as it doesn’t break anything).
I’ll be able to share more details about Microsoft’s bulletins next Tuesday. Make sure to check back here then.
Today, Adobe also released a pre-notification alert for their upcoming patch day. You can read it here. In short, they too plan to release updates next Tuesday, for Reader and Acrobat . Among other things, the updates will include outstanding fixes related to the zero day Reader issue we talked about last month. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)