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News

November Patch Tuesday Overview

Shavlik Technologies : 12 November, 2009  (Technical Article)
Jason Miller of Shavlik Technologies provides detailed insight into the six security bulletins released by Microsoft on Tuesday
Microsoft has released six new security bulletins in November's Patch Tuesday. Administrators are getting a bit of a break after last month's mammoth security bulletin release.

MS09-065 is the first bulletin administrators should address. This bulletin affects the Windows Kernel and can lead to remote execution on a target system. This bulletin addresses three vulnerabilities. One of the vulnerabilities was disclosed to Microsoft, but it was also disclosed publically. This could lead to a quick turn around on exploits for this vulnerability. This vulnerability affects the way the Windows Kernel parses Embedded OpenType fonts. These are typical on websites. If a user visits a specially crafted website, an attacker can take control of the system. The internet is one of the most popular attack vectors, so this should be patched as soon as possible on your workstations.


MS09-063 affects Windows Vista and 2008 only. The vulnerability affects a service that is on by default on those systems: Web Services on Devices API (WSDAPI). An evil attacker can send a specially crafted network packet to a target system. If successful, the attacker can take complete control of the system. It is interesting that a new service that helps with the 'user experience' can cause so much harm. The WSDAPI service allows users to easily find devices such as printers and cameras on their network. This vulnerability is also not publically known at this time.


The next two security bulletins address vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. MS09-067 addresses eight vulnerabilities in which none are publically known for Microsoft Excel. MS09-068 affects Microsoft Word and addresses one vulnerability that is not publically known. To exploit these vulnerabilities for both bulletins, a user must open a specially crafted Excel/Word document. This could be done through a website or through an email attachment. If opened, the malicious document could lead to remote code execution on the target system. Both bulletins affect Office for Mac as well.

MS09-064 is an interesting vulnerability. If this was released six years ago, this vulnerability would be rated extremely critical. This bulletin addresses a vulnerability that only affects Windows 2000, specifically the License Logging Server. This service is on by default on Windows 2000 systems. An attacker can send a specially crafted packet to the target system that can result in remote code execution on the target system. As Windows 2000 is an aging technology, this may not affect too many organizations. It is important to note any computer running Windows 2000 today is typically a server. This could make this bulletin extremely critical as it could be a primary device on your network.

MS09-066 affects corporate networks as it addresses a vulnerability in Active Directory. A successful exploit can result in denial of service on the system. This vulnerability will be difficult to exploit though. All operating systems other than Windows 2000 require valid credentials to send a specially crafted packet. If an attacker already had valid credentials, they would do more damage than a denial of service attack on a server. For Windows 2000 servers, like MS09-064, these machines should be patched immediately. A specially crafted packet sent to a Windows 2000 machine can result in an unresponsive machine that requires an unscheduled reboot."
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