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Microsoft Patch Tuesday – December 2010

Posted December 15, 2010    Chris Silva

To make up for a relaxing November, Microsoft unleashed 17 security bulletins today. That puts their 2010 total at 106 bulletins (unless they release an emergency out of band patch before the end of the year). This is a record for Microsoft – their previous high was 100 bulletins way back in 2000.

It is safe to say that the DLL preloading vulnerability outlined in KB2269637 is one if the causes for the high quantity of patches for the year. In addition to MS10-087 which was released in November, MS10-093, MS10-094, MS10-095, MS10-096 and MS10-097 were released this month to fix the DLL preloading vulnerability in additional Microsoft products. Even though Microsoft has been actively releasing fixes for their affected products, it is still recommended to implement the mitigation steps outlined in KB2269637 as numerous other third-party software products are affected and unpatched.

The second reason for the high yearly total is the Stuxnet worm and its associated vulnerabilities. To date, Microsoft has released MS10-043, MS10-61, MS10-073 and now MS10-092, all related to the Stuxnet worm. The latest bulletin, MS10-092, covers a privilege escalation within Windows Task Manager, and is rated as important.

Another of today’s bulletins (MS10-103) covers five vulnerabilities within Microsoft Publisher. Of the five vulnerabilities, four of them can be mitigated by disabling the Publisher Converter DLL. This is the same mitigation that Microsoft recommended last year for MS09-030. It is also the same mitigation that was recommended back in 2007 for the MS07-037, a similar flaw in Microsoft Publisher discovered by the eEye Research Team. As always, if you don’t require the functionality, it is always best to deploy mitigations to cover not only current vulnerabilities, but also the potential for future vulnerabilities as well.

Also note that document and format converters are prime targets for attack, and are often fuzzed to discover new vulnerabilities. MS10-104, while not a vulnerability within a format converter, is related in that it resides within a service that is utilized to process conversion requests.

If you have no need for this functionality, install the patch and follow the mitigation steps. Or you can play it really safe, and stick to plain text for your next corporate presentation:

    _                                        _                 _
 _ |_   _   \  /   |._  _ ._ _.|_ o|o_|_    |_  ._  _ ._ _|_  |_ _ ._   ._ _
(/_|_\/(/_   \/ |_||| |(/_| (_||_)||| |_\/  |_><|_)(/_|   |_  | (_)| |_|| | |
     /                                  /       |

You can find full details on all 17 security bulletins in newsletter format here. Retina Network Security Scanner customers can view the list of audits associated with these bulletins.

As usual, eEye Digital Security will be hosting the vulnerability expert forum (VEF) on Wednesday, December 15th at 11AM PST. The vulnerability expert forum is a live webcast where the eEye research team will discuss these patches and additional security landscape topics. Be sure to sign up in advance. Marc Maiffret will be making a guest appearance, so be sure to tune in.

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