Tag Archives: patch day

Microsoft’s Last Patch Day Until 2015; Three Critical Patches

It’s that time of the month again; Microsoft Patch Day. Yesterday, Microsoft posted their regular batch of security updates, so it’s time you patch your Windows systems. I’ll summarize some Patch Day highlights below, but you should visit Microsoft’s December Patch Day Summary page for more details

By the Numbers:

On Tuesday, Microsoft released seven security bulletins, fixing a total of 25 security vulnerabilities in many of their products. The affected products include:

  • all current versions of Windows,
  • Internet Explorer (IE),
  • Office,
  • and Exchange Server.

They rate three bulletins as Critical, four as Important.

Patch Day Highlights:

The Exchange update is the most interesting one, but lets start with what you should patch first. I’d start with the Internet Explorer (IE) update, as it closes a bunch of holes bad guys can use for drive-by download attacks. Next, even though Microsoft doesn’t rate it as Critical, the Exchange update fixes a few flaws attackers could leverage to access your users’ email (if they can get those users to click links). Since email is so important, I’d take care of that next. Then move on to the various Office updates, to make sure your users aren’t affected by malicious Office documents. Finally, even though it poses minimal risk, finish with the Graphics component update.

Quick Bulletin Summary:

We summarize December’s security bulletins below in order of severity. We recommend you apply the updates in the same order of priority, assuming you use the affected products.

  • MS14-080 – Critical – Cumulative Internet Explorer update fixes 14 vulnerabilities – The Internet Explorer (IE) update primarily fixes a bunch of memory corruption flaws remote attackers could leverage to execute code. These are the types of flaws typically used in drive-by download attacks. If an attacker can get you to visit a site with malicious code, he could exploit these flaws to run code on your machine. If you have local administrator privileges, the attacker gains full control of your PC.
  • MS14-075 – Important- Four Exchange Server Vulnerabilities – Microsoft’s email server, Exchange, suffers from four security flaws. The worst are a pair of cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws. If an attacker can trick you into clicking a specially crafted link on a system you use for OWA, he could exploit these flaws to gain access to your email as you. The remaining flaws allow attackers to spoof emails to appear to come from someone else, or to spoof links that appear to link to somewhere else.
  • MS14-081 – Critical – Two Word Remote Code Execution Flaws – Word suffers from two flaws involving how it handles specially crafted Office files. In short, if an attacker can get you to open a malicious Office file, she can exploit these flaws to execute code on your computer.
  • MS14-082 – Important – Office Code Execution Flaw – Word, an Office component, suffers from yet another code execution vulnerability, similar to the two described above. I’m not sure why Microsoft included this is a separate bulletin, with a lower severity, since it seems to have a similar impact and mitigating factors as the flaws above.
  • MS14-083 – Important – Two Excel Code Execution Flaws - Excel suffers from a pair of code execution vulnerabilities attackers could exploit by getting you to interact with malicious spreadsheets.
  • MS14-084 – Important – Windows VBScript Memory Corruption Flaw - The Windows VBScript component suffers from a memory corruption flaw that attackers could leverage through your browser. If an attacker can lure you to a website with malicious code, he could exploit this flaw to execute code with your privileges.
  • MS14-085 – Important – Windows Graphic Component Information Disclosure Flaw - The Graphics component of Windows suffers from a minor flaw that attackers could leverage to learn about the current memory state of your computer. This flaw serves little purpose alone, but could help attackers exploit other memory corruption vulnerabilities easier.

Solution Path:

If you use any of the software mentioned above, you should apply the corresponding updates as soon as you can. I recommend you apply the Critical updates immediately, try to get to the Important ones as a soon as possible, and leave the moderate ones for last.

You can get the updates three ways:

  1. Let Windows Automatic Update do it for you – While patches sometimes introduce new problems, these occasional issues don’t seem to affect clients as often as they do servers. To keep your network secure, I recommend you set Windows clients to update automatically so they get patches as soon as possible.
  2. Manually download and install patches – That said, most businesses strongly rely on production servers and server software. For that reason, I recommend you always test new server updates before applying them manually to production servers. Virtualization can help you build a test environment that mimics your production one for testing.  You can find links to download the various updates in the individual bulletins I’ve linked above.
  3. Download December’s full Security Update ISO –  Finally, Microsoft eventually posts an ISO image that consolidates all the security updates. This ISO conveniently packages the updates in one place for administrators. You’ll eventually find a link to the monthly security ISOs here, but Microsoft may not post it until a few days after Patch Day

For WatchGuard Customers:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus (GAV), Intrusion Prevention (IPS), and APT Blocker services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the attacks described in Microsoft’s alerts:

  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-8966)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6376)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6375)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6374)
  • WEB Microsoft Graphics Component Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6355)
  • FILE Microsoft Word Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6357)
  • FILE Microsoft Excel Global Free Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6360)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer ASLR Bypass Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6368)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6369)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6373)
  • EXPLOIT Adobe Flash Player Memory Corruption (CVE-2014-0574)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6327)
  • WEB MIcrosoft Internet Explorer XSS Filter Bypass Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6328)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6329)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6330)
  • FILE Microsoft Excel Invalid Pointer Remote Code Execution Vulnerability  (CVE-2014-6361)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft VBScript Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6363)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft VBScript Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6366)
  • FILE Adobe Flash Player opcode pushwith Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0586)
  • FILE Adobe Flash Player opcode pushscope Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0585)

Your Firebox or XTM appliance should get this new IPS signature update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nevertheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)


DarkHotel & iOS Masque – WSWiR Episode 129

MS Patch Day, DarkHotel, and iOS Masque

Too much Information Security (InfoSec) news, too little time? I sometimes feel the same way. If you don’t have time to keep up yourself, why not watch our weekly InfoSec video to catch the highlights.

This week, I share the highlights from Microsoft Patch Day, talk about a targeted attack preying on executives in hotels, and warn of a new vulnerability that affects anyone with an iPhone or iPad. Click play below to learn all about it, and check out other stories from the week in the Extras section below.

Stay vigilant online and enjoy your weekend!

(Episode Runtime: 12:39)

Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwxEksw3j-Q



— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Evil Tor Exit Node – WSWiR Episode 127

Security FUD, Black Energy, and Tor Terror

Happy Halloween!

The Internet “threatscape” has changed drastically over the past few years, with many more cyber security incidents each year and tons of information security (infosec) news in the headlines. Can you keep up? If not, maybe my weekly infosec video will help.

In today’s quick update, I rant a bit about infosec misinformation, share the latest on the Black Energy ICS attack campaign, and talk about an Evil Tor exit node that dynamically adds malware to downloads. Press play for the scoop, and enjoy your spooky Halloween weekend.

(Episode Runtime: 10:44)

Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjejYd_9Oik

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Cryptowall Malvertising – WSWiR Episode 126

Windows 0day, iCloud MitM, and Cryptowall Rises

You’re a busy IT guy that barely has time to brush your teeth before running off to work, so who has time to follow security news too? Does this sound like you? If so, let our short weekly video inform you of the most important security news in the time it takes you to enjoy your first cup of coffee.

Today’s episode covers another Microsoft zero day flaw, a recent man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack against iCloud, and the latest developments with a nasty piece of ransomware called CryptoWall. Press play below to learn about all that and more, and peruse the Reference section for other stories.

(Episode Runtime: 8:40)

Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y5lBIQ0CEI

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

POODLE Bites SSL – WSWiR Episode 125

October Patch Bonanze, Leaky Apps, and POODLE

Cyber security has gone main stream, which means we’re getting a lot more security news each week than we used to. This week was even busier than usual, with updates fixing hundreds and hundreds of security vulnerabilities, as well as a significant vulnerabilities in a encryption standards. If you’re having trouble keeping track of the most important security info on your own, let our week video summary do it for you.

Today’s episode covers a ton of updates for October’s Patch Day, data leaks affecting SnapChat and DropBox, and a relatively serious SSL vulnerability called POODLE. The video is a bit longer than usual in order to better describe the POODLE flaw. Press play to learn more, and check the references for other interesting stories.

Enjoy your weekend, and beware what you click online.

(Episode Runtime: 16:37)

Direct YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFX9DXDizu4

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Microsoft Black Tuesday: Windows, IE, Lync, and .NET Patches

As you may know, today was Microsoft Patch Day. If you manage a Windows-based network, it’s time to get the latest updates.

According to Microsoft’s summary post, the Redmond-based software company released four security bulletins fixing 41 vulnerabilities in many of their popular products. The affected software includes, Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Lync Server, and the .NET Framework. Microsoft rates the IE update as Critical, and the rest as Important.

As you might guess from the severity ratings, the IE update is the most important. It fixes over 37 security flaws in the popular browser, many of which attackers could use in drive-by download attacks (where just visiting a web site results in malware on your computer). Furthermore, one of the fixes closes a zero day vulnerability that attackers have exploited in the wild. If you use IE, I recommend you apply its update as quickly as your can. You should also install the other updates as well, however, their mitigating factors lessen their risk, so you can install them at your convenience.

In summary, if you use any of the affected products, download, test, and deploy these updates as quickly as you can or let Windows’ Automatic Update do it for you. For the server related updates, I highly recommend you test them before installing them on production servers, as Microsoft has released a few problem causing updates recently. You can find more information about these bulletins and updates in Microsoft’s September Summary advisory.

Also note today is Adobe’s Patch Day as well, and they released one security update fixing 12 vulnerabilities in Flash Player. If you use Flash, you should update it quickly. Adobe also pre-announced a Reader update earlier this month. However, it appears they have had to delay the update for some reason.

I’ll share more details about today’s patches on the blog throughout the day. However, I am traveling internationally, so the updates may not arrive as regularly as usual. If you are in a hurry to patch, I recommend you visit the links above, and start now.  — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Avoid MS14-045; Windows Kernel-mode Drivers Patch

Last week, I covered Microsoft Patch Day and recommend you install all the latest Windows, IE, Office, and server updates. This week, I need to warn you against one of those updates.

According to recent reports, the Windows kernel-mode driver update (MS14-045) is causing some computers to have blue screens of death (BSOD). If you haven’t installed this update yet, I recommend you avoid it until further notice. If you have installed it, and have suffered issues, Microsoft has shared instructions on how to remove it.

In the past, I’ve argued that Microsoft’s QA has gotten better, with fewer crash inducing updates. I guess they’re still not perfect. In general, this is a great example of why you should always test updates before pushing them into production. You can do this by maintaining a virtual version of your infrastructure and testing updates there.  — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

SQL Server Update Fixes XSS and DoS Vulnerability

Severity: Medium


  • These vulnerabilities affect: Most current versions of SQL Server
  • How an attacker exploits it: Various, including enticing someone to click a specially crafted link
  • Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can steal your web cookie, hijack your web session, or essentially take any action you could on the SQL server
  • What to do: Deploy the appropriate SQL Server updates as soon as possible


SQL Server is Microsoft’s popular database server. According to Microsoft’s security bulletin, SQL Server suffers from both a Cross-site Scripting (XSS) and Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability.

The XSS flaw poses the most risk. The SQL Master Data Services (MDS) component suffers from a Cross-site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability due to its inability to properly encode output. By enticing someone to click a specially crafted link, an attacker could leverage this flaw to inject client-side script into that user’s web browser. This could allow the attacker to steal web cookie, hijack the web session, or essentially take any action that user could on your SQL Server’s associated web site. In some cases, attackers can even leverage XSS attacks to hijack your web browser, and gain unauthorized access to your computer.

The DoS flaw poses less risk, but is worth patching too. Essentially, if an attacker can send specially crafted queries to you SQL server, he could lock it up. However, since most administrator block SQL queries from the Internet, the attacker would have to reside on the local network to launch this attack.

Solution Path:

Microsoft has released SQL Server updates  to correct this vulnerability. You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate update as soon as possible. You can find the updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s SQL Server bulletin.

As an aside, the Cross-site Scripting (XSS) protection mechanisms built into many modern web browsers, like Internet Explorer (IE) 8 and above, can often prevent these sorts of attacks. We recommend you enable these mechanisms, if you haven’t already.

For All WatchGuard Users:

Since attackers might exploit some of these attacks locally, we recommend you download, test, and apply the SQL Server patches as quickly as possible.


Microsoft has released updates to fix this vulnerability.


This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

What did you think of this alert? Let us know at your.opinion.matters@watchguard.com.

Windows Updates for Media Center, .NET, and LRPC

Severity: Medium


  • These vulnerabilities affect: All current versions of Windows (and related components like .NET Framework)
  • How an attacker exploits them: Multiple vectors of attack, such as enticing you into opening maliciously crafted Office file.
  • Impact: In the worst case, an remote attacker can gain complete control of your Windows computer
  • What to do: Install the appropriate Microsoft patches as soon as possible, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you


Today, Microsoft released five security bulletins describing seven vulnerabilities in Windows and related components, such as the .NET Framework. A remote attacker could exploit the worst of these flaws to potentially gain complete control of your Windows PC. We recommend you download, test, and deploy these critical updates as quickly as possible.

The summary below lists the vulnerabilities, in order from highest to lowest severity.

  • MS14-043:  Windows Media Center Code Execution Flaw

Windows Media Center is the media player and Digital Video Recording (DVR) application that ships with the popular operating system. MCplayer.dll, a component Media Center uses for audio and video playback, suffers from a “use after free” vulnerability. By tricking you into running a specially crafted Office file, a remote attacker could leverage this flaw to execute code on your computer, with your privileges. If you’re a local adminstrator, the attacker could gain complete control of your machine. Note, this flaw mostly affects the latest versions of Windows.

Microsoft rating: Critical

  • MS14-045:  Multiple Kernel-Mode Driver Elevation of Privilege Vulnerabilities

The kernel is the core component of any computer operating system. Windows also ships with a kernel-mode device driver (win32k.sys), which handles the OS’s device interactions at a kernel level. The Windows kernel-mode driver suffers from three local code execution flaws. The flaws differ technically, but most have to do with the kernel-mode driver improperly handling certain objects, which can result in memory corruptions. Smart attackers can leverage memory corruption flaws to execute code. In a nutshell, if a local attacker can run a specially crafted application, he could leverage most of these flaws to gain complete control of your Windows computers. However, in order to run his malicious program, the attacker first needs to gain local access to your Windows computer, or needs to trick you into running the program yourself, which somewhat lessens the severity of this vulnerability.

Microsoft rating: Important

  • MS14-046:  .NET Framework ASLR Bypass Flaw

The .NET Framework is software framework used by developers to create new Windows and web applications. Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) is a memory obfuscation technique that some operating systems use to make it harder for attackers to find specific things in memory, which in turn makes it harder for them to exploit memory corruption flaws. In short, the .NET framework doesn’t use ASLR protection. This means attackers can leverage .NET to bypass Windows’ ASLR protection features. This flaw alone doesn’t allow an attacker to gain access to your Windows computer. Rather, it can help make other memory corruption vulnerabilities easier to exploit. This update fixes the ASLR bypass hole.

Microsoft rating: Important

Local Remote Procedure Call (LRPC) is a protocol Microsoft Windows uses to allow processes to communicate with each other and execute tasks, whether on the same computer or another computer over the network. It suffers from a ASLR bypass vulnerability that has the same scope and impact as the .NET one described above.

Microsoft rating: Important

  • MS14-049:  Windows Installer Service Elevation of Privilege Flaw

As its name suggests, the Windows Installer services is a component that helps you install and configure stuff in Windows. It suffers from a privilege escalation vulnerability involving the way it improperly handles the repair of a previous application. If a local attacker can log into one of your Windows systems and run a specially crafted application, he could exploit this flaw to gain complete control of the system (even if he started out with only Guest privileges). Of course, the attacker would need valid login credentials, which significantly lowers the severity of this issue.

Microsoft rating: Important

Solution Path:

Microsoft has released various updates that correct all of these vulnerabilities. You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate updates throughout your network immediately. If you choose, you can also let Windows Update automatically download and install them for you. As always, you should test your updates before deploying them.

The links below point directly to the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of each bulletin, where you can find links to the various updates:

For All WatchGuard Users:

Though WatchGuard’s XTM appliances offer defenses that can mitigate the risk of some of these flaws (such as blocking Office files), attackers can exploit others locally. Since your gateway XTM appliance can’t protect you against local attacks, we recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from these flaws.


Microsoft has released patches correcting these issues.


This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

What did you think of this alert? Let us know at your.opinion.matters@watchguard.com.

Nine Microsoft Security Bulletins Coming Tomorrow; Two Critical

Is it just me, or are the months flying by this year? It’s already time for yet another Microsoft Patch Day. According to their advanced notification post for August, Microsoft will release nine security bulletins tomorrow, two with a Critical severity rating. The bulletins will include updates to fix flaws in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, the .NET Framework, SQL server, and other Microsoft Server Software. You can find a little more color about the upcoming patches at Microsoft’s Security Response Center blog.

In short, if you are a Microsoft administrator, you should prepare yourself for a busy day of patching. I’ll post more details about these updates tomorrow, as they come out. However, I am traveling this week to attend a show, so my posts may not go live as quickly as normal. Be sure to keep you eye on their summary post tomorrow, if you’d like to get the details early. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)


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