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Microsoft patches critical security holes in Windows, Office, IE

Juan Carlos Perez | Aug. 15, 2012
Microsoft has fixed 26 vulnerabilities in its software products, including several considered critical, the company said on Tuesday in its monthly security patch report.

A fourth critical vulnerability, MS12-053, affects the Windows Remote Desktop Protocol and can be exploited by attackers who send a sequence of "specially crafted" RDP packets to an affected system. RDP isn't turned on by default on any Windows OS. This hole is rated critical for all supported editions of Windows XP.

A fifth critical vulnerability, MS12-058, relates to Exchange Server's WebReady Document Viewing feature. The exploit could allow execution of remote code on the affected system. Users would need to preview a malicious file using Outlook Web App. This is rated critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

The four vulnerabilities rated important are MS12-055, related to Windows kernel-mode drivers, which would allow for unauthorized elevation of user privilege; MS12-056, a vulnerability in the JScript and VBScript scripting engines on 64-bit versions of Windows, which could allow remote code execution if users visit a malicious website; MS12-057, a hole in Office that could lead to remote code execution if a user opens a malicious file or embeds a malicious Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) graphics file into an Office file; and MS12-059, a vulnerability in Visio that also could lead to remote code execution on an affected machine.

Microsoft also announced a change in the way Windows deals with certificates whose RSA keys are under 1024 bits in length. A Windows update will restrict the use of such certificates. That update is now in the Download Center as well as the Microsoft Update Catalog so that enterprise administrators can download it and test it. The update will be widely released via Windows Update in October of this year.

Users whose machines are set up to receive Microsoft's software patches automatically don't need to do anything. The fixes will be installed on their computers automatically. The updates can also be manually downloaded at the Microsoft Update and Windows Update sites.

 

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