The Eye of the Patch Storm

Two months have passed since the beginning of the year where we saw one of the smallest releases of patch content for the past couple of years, to then having an entire baseline cancelled at the last minute in February.

Some IT managers may have counted their lucky stars for the reduction in their workload so far this year – that is until they see this massive release.

Microsoft have released eighteen updates this month, nine are rated Critical with the remaining rated Important. Last week Microsoft also released 17 KB updates covering Office version 2013 and 2016. Full details of that release can be found here.

Last year we raised our concerns about rolling patches together, and last month only two months since Microsoft adopted this strategy were our concerns realized. Because of a single bad patch, the entire baseline was cancelled. 

Don’t get us wrong, we understand the benefit of rolling content into single cumulative updates, but we also appreciate the level of testing needed to ensure a safe combination of updates when rolling them together. That same level of care should be adopted when deploying updates in your environment to ensure bad updates do not cause business outages.

A school study at the University of Maryland was the first to quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access—every 39 seconds on average.

Robert Brown, Director of Services said “Perception as to the current threat to a company’s network should not be founded on the content released by vendors such as Microsoft alone. There are multiple perimeters you can secure to protect your assets, but remember to also look at the tool you are using to secure your environment. In the past few weeks, IBM have released over 20 security updates for their premise and cloud based patch management tools, meaning your toolset should have a perimeter of its own.”

According to the SANS Institute, 95 percent of all attacks on enterprise networks start with a successful spear phishing attack. Full details of this article can be found here.

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Microsoft Updates

We have chosen a few updates to prioritize this month. This recommendation has been made using evidence from industry experts (including our own), anticipated business impact and most importantly, the independent CVSS score for the vulnerability. The independent CVSS scores used in the table below range from 0 to 10. Vulnerabilities with a base score in the range 7.0-10.0 are High, those in the range 4.0-6.9 as Medium, and 0-3.9 as Low.

Number

Bulletin ID

Description

Impact

Restart Requirement

Publically Disclosed

Exploited

Severity

CVSS Score

Recommended High Priority

1

MS17-006

Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (4013073)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

Yes

Yes

Critical

8.8

Yes

2

MS17-007

Cumulative Security Update for Microsoft Edge (4013071)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Edge. These vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Microsoft Edge. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could take control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

Yes

No

Critical

8.8

Yes

3

MS17-008

Security Update for Windows Hyper-V (4013082)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an authenticated attacker on a guest operating system runs a specially crafted application that causes the Hyper-V host operating system to execute arbitrary code. Customers who have not enabled the Hyper-V role are not affected.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

Yes

No

Critical

8.8

 

4

MS17-009

Security Update for Microsoft Windows PDF Library (4010319)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user views specially crafted PDF content online or opens a specially crafted PDF document.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

No

Critical

8.8

 

5

MS17-010

Security Update for Microsoft Windows SMB Server (4013389)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an attacker sends specially crafted messages to a Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1) server.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

No

Critical

9.8

Yes

6

MS17-011

Security Update for Microsoft Uniscribe (4013076)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Windows Uniscribe. The most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user visits a specially crafted website or opens a specially crafted document. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

No

Critical

7.8

 

7

MS17-012

Security Update for Microsoft Windows (4013078)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an attacker runs a specially crafted application that connects to an iSNS Server and then issues malicious requests to the server.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

Yes

No

Critical

9.8

Yes

8

MS17-013

Security Update for Microsoft Graphics Component (4013075)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Skype for Business, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Silverlight. The most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user either visits a specially crafted website or opens a specially crafted document. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

Yes

Critical

8.4

Yes

9

MS17-014

Security Update for Microsoft Office (4013241)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerabilities could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. Customers whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than those who operate with administrative user rights.

Remote Code Execution

Maybe

Yes

No

Important

7.8

 

10

MS17-015

Security Update for Microsoft Exchange Server (4013242)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange Outlook Web Access (OWA). The vulnerability could allow remote code execution in Exchange Server if an attacker sends an email with a specially crafted attachment to a vulnerable Exchange server.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

No

Important

5.4

 

11

MS17-016

Security Update for Windows IIS (4013074)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if a user clicks a specially crafted URL which is hosted by an affected Microsoft IIS server. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could potentially execute scripts in the user’s browser to obtain information from web sessions.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

No

No

Important

6.1

 

12

MS17-017

Security Update for Windows Kernel (4013081)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker runs a specially crafted application.

Elevation of Privilege

Yes

Yes

No

Important

7.8

 

13

MS17-018

Security Update for Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers (4013083)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to an affected system and runs a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerabilities and take control of an affected system.

Elevation of Privilege

Yes

No

No

Important

7.8

 

14

MS17-019

Security Update for Active Directory Federation Services (4010320)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if an attacker sends a specially crafted request to an ADFS server, allowing the attacker to read sensitive information about the target system.

Information Disclosure

Yes

No

No

Important

4.3

 

15

MS17-020

Security Update for Windows DVD Maker (3208223)

 

This security update resolves an information disclosure vulnerability in Windows DVD Maker. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to obtain information to further compromise a target system.

Information Disclosure

Yes

No

No

Important

2.8

 

16

MS17-021

Security Update for Windows DirectShow (4010318)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow an information disclosure if Windows DirectShow opens specially crafted media content that is hosted on a malicious website. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could obtain information to further compromise a target system.

Information Disclosure

Yes

No

No

Important

3.3

 

17

MS17-022

Security Update for Microsoft XML Core Services (4010321)

 

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a user visits a malicious website. However, in all cases an attacker would have no way to force a user to click a specially crafted link. An attacker would have to convince a user to click the link, typically by way of an enticement in an email or Instant Messenger message.

Information Disclosure

Yes

No

Yes

Important

3.5

 

18

MS17-023

Security Update for Adobe Flash Player (4014329)

 

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player when installed on all supported editions of Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2016.

Remote Code Execution

Yes

NA

NA

Critical

 

Yes

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