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Make the Scene in 2016 With a New Patching Approach

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Robert BrownBy Robert Brown

With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in everyone’s minds, implementing a new Windows and third-party patching policy should be added as a priority to your to-do list. 

This month’s Patch Tuesday – the first one of the year— lists nine bulletins that resolve more than 50 individual vulnerabilities. Six of these bulletins are rated Critical, and the remaining three are rated Important. There are seven vulnerabilities marked as Remote Code Execution. There were ten of these last month, which specifically targeted users during the holiday season. Extra vigilance is essential. Extensive education will help ensure company users avoid these exploits that lead to downloading innocent-looking viruses. 

Pete Khoshaba, the solutions architect for Cloud Management Suite, advises employees getting back into the normal business mindset after the holidays to keep their guard up, especially when it comes to online games and even those lingering secret Santa messages.

Exploit kits are a major threat impacting users, both inside and outside the company. Malicious payloads are delivered through compromises as indiscriminately as visiting a website. Nick Biasini, the threat expert at Talos Security Intelligence & Research Group, points out that one of the challenges with exploit kits is at any given time there are numerous threats of this type active on the Internet.

You also may have noticed the new Windows 8 updates this month. It appears Windows 8 has been dropped into the Microsoft failed OS bin. Now is the time to update to Windows 8.1 or 10.

James Rowney, the services manager for Verismic, says this rumor is a significant worry for businesses that are behind the times. Based on his experience, many administrators are reluctant to upgrade to the latest revisions until they are tried and tested over a lengthy period. This action from Microsoft may be an attempt to force these businesses to get up to speed with the latest technology.

In addition to this rumor, Microsoft will no longer be patching versions of IE older than version 11 after this month. With monthly Remote Execution vulnerabilities being released for IE for the majority of 2015, this is clearly an area of concern.

Customers using internally designed or bespoke software to run critical business functions are anxious. Their programs, which run on unsupported or legacy software, lack the means to recover from exposure to vulnerabilities and threats.

We highly recommended that you deploy all of the critical vulnerabilities at your earliest convenience with particular emphasis on MS16-002, MS16-006 and MS16-004, in this priority order. This recommendation is justified by combining the vendor severity, independent CVSS score, vulnerability impact and current exploits.

The independent CVSS scores 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 are Medium and 0-3.9 are Low.

UPDATES

MS16-001 — Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (3124903)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: Requires Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

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 exploits this vulnerability 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 exploits 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.

MS16-002 Cumulative Security Update for Microsoft Edge (3124904)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: Requires Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Edge. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Microsoft Edge. An attacker who successfully exploits the vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as 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.

MS16-003 Cumulative Security Update for JScript and VBScript to Address Remote Code Execution (3125540)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: May Require Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

This security update resolves a vulnerability in the VBScript scripting engine in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user visits a specially crafted website. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability 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 exploits 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.

MS16-004 — Security Update for Microsoft Office to Address Remote Code Execution (3124585)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: May Require Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

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 exploits 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.

MS16-005 Security Update for Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers to Address Remote Code Execution (3124584)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: Requires Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user visits a malicious website.

MS16-006 Security Update for Silverlight to Address Remote Code Execution (3126036)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: Does Not Require a Restart, Severity: Critical, CVSS Score: 9.3)

This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Silverlight. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user visits a compromised website that contains a specially crafted Silverlight application. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a compromised website. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email or instant message that takes users to the attacker’s website.

MS16-007 Security Update for Microsoft Windows to Address Remote Code Execution (3124901)
(Impact: Remote Code Execution, Restart Requirement: Requires Restart, Severity: Important, CVSS Score: 9.3)

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an attacker is able to log on to a target system and run a specially crafted application.

MS16-008 Security Update for Windows Kernel to Address Elevation of Privilege (3124605)
(Impact: Elevation of Privilege, Restart Requirement: Requires Restart, Severity: Important, CVSS Score: 7.2)

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.

MS16-010 — Security Update in Microsoft Exchange Server to Address Spoofing (3124557)
(Impact: Spoofing, Restart Requirement: May Require Restart, Severity: Important, CVSS Score: 4.3)

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow spoofing if Outlook Web Access (OWA) fails to properly handle Web requests, and sanitize user input and email content.

Robert Brown is director of services at Verismic Software, Inc. During his 10+ years with the brand, his role has evolved from onsite technical consultant through to his current role. Robert’s approach to deployment of services, continuous review of process efficiency and putting the customer’s experience at the forefront has led to the establishment of one of the most capable technical teams in the UK who support Verismic’s award-winning Cloud Management Suite.


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