By Alan Shimel

Editor’s note: Alan Shimel is filling in
for Tony Bradley this month.

Microsoft released eleven new security bulletins for the
December Patch Tuesday, closing out 2013 with 106 security bulletins. While
that tops last year’s total of 83, it is roughly in line with 2010 (106) and
2011’s (100) numbers.

The eleven bulletins for the month continues Microsoft’s
recent policy of continuous release of patches, rather than the bust or burst
approach of previous years, where the numbers would range from just a few to
two dozen or more per month. This gives IT admins a bit more predictability to
their patch activities.

Microsoft seems to be averaging just about nine a month, so
this month is a bit heavy with five critical and six important security
bulletins.

All five critical bulletins deal with remote code execution
so should be addressed. The highest priority for IT Admins should be the first
bulletin which closes a known zero day bug documented in KB2896666.
There is another known zero day out there, KB2914486,
which is not addressed this month. That zero day attacks through Adobe Reader,
so patching to the latest version of Reader is highly recommended.

Any remote code execution vulnerability gets my attention so
I would not delay too long to address those five patches. While the other four
don’t have zero days around them, they are important enough to address now.
With the holiday season we are all busy, addressing the other six patches if
they apply to you (pay attention to what platform they are for) early on will
let you enjoy the holidays with at least this off of your plate.

Happy Holidays!


This
blog post is also available in the PDF format in a TechRepublic Download.


Security Patches

This month’s eleven security bulletins address a total of 22
separate vulnerabilities spanning Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office,
Exchange, Surface 2 and more.

MS13-088
/ KB2888505
– Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer

More than half of the vulnerabilities this month are
addressed with this one update. MS13-088 resolves ten separate vulnerabilities
affecting all versions of Internet Explorer from IE6 to IE11. Two of the flaws
could allow information disclosure, and the remaining eight are memory
corruption issues that could be exploited to enable an attacker to execute
malicious code remotely on the vulnerable system. There are no known exploits
in the wild currently for these vulnerabilities, but an attacker could execute
an exploit by crafting a malicious Web page and luring users to visit it.

MS13-089
/ KB2876331
– Vulnerability in Windows Graphics Device Interface Could
Allow Remote Code Execution

This security bulletin is rated as Critical by Microsoft
because the flaw could allow an attacker to execute malicious code remotely on
the target system, and the flaw impacts all supported versions of Windows from
Windows XP to Windows 8.1. The severity, however, is tempered significantly by
the fact that an attacker would have to create a malicious file, and somehow
convince a user to open it using WordPad – an application that very few people
actually use.

MS13-090
/ KB2900986
– Cumulative Security Update of ActiveX Kill Bits

MS13-090 is an urgent update for two reasons. First, a
successful exploit of the vulnerability enables the attacker to execute
malicious code on the compromised system. Second, this is a zero-day flaw that
is already being actively exploited in the wild. A specially-crafted malicious
Web page can be used to trigger the flawed ActiveX control and compromise the
system. All desktop versions of Windows are affected, but the potential threat
can be minimized by ensuring users don’t operate with full administrator
privileges.

MS13-091
/ KB2885093
– Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Could Allow Remote Code
Execution

This security bulletin addresses three vulnerabilities in
Microsoft Office – impacting Office 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013. One of the
three vulnerabilities spans all versions of Office, and will probably be the
one any attackers will focus their attention on. The security bulletin is only
rated as Important by Microsoft, but because Microsoft Office is so pervasive,
and a successful attack could lead to remote code execution, this patch should
be a higher priority.

MS13-092
/ KB2893986
– Vulnerability in Hyper-V Could Allow Elevation of Privilege

The threat from MS130-092 is relatively limited. The
vulnerability is specific to Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 – Windows 8.1
and Windows Server 2012 R2 are unaffected. A successful attack could lead to an
elevation of privilege or to a denial of service by crashing the hypervisor,
but the attacker would first need access to a guest virtual machine running within
the Hyper-V host in order to pass a specially crafted hypercall to trigger the
exploit.

MS13-093
/ KB2875783
– Vulnerability in Windows Ancillary Function Driver Could
Allow Information Disclosure

This flaw poses very little risk. A memory disclosure
vulnerability in the Windows ancillary function driver can lead to an elevation
of privilege, and possible information disclosure. However, the attacker has to
first be logged on to the vulnerable system with valid local credentials, and
then execute a specially-crafted application to trigger the flaw. A remote
attacker would first need to successfully exploit of some other flaw to gain
control of the target system before this flaw could be a threat.

MS13-094
/ KB2894514
– Vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook Could Allow Information
Disclosure

This is a publicly disclosed vulnerability that affects
Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013. If an attacker tricks a user into opening a
specially-crafted malicious email message using an affected version of Outlook,
it could lead to information disclosure. The attacker may be able to extract
details such as IP address, open TCP ports, and other sensitive information.

MS13-095
/ KB2868626
– Vulnerability in Digital Signatures Could Allow Denial of
Service

MS13-095 also poses virtually no real risk in and of itself.
A flaw in how Microsoft interprets digital signatures can be exploited with a
specially-crafted X.509 certificate to crash the affected system and cause a
denial of service condition.

MS13-096
/ KB2908005
– Vulnerability in Microsoft Graphics Component Could allow
Remote Code
Execution

This security update resolves a publicly disclosed
vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Lync. The
vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user views content that
contains specially crafted TIFF files.

MS13-097
/ KB2898785
– Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer

This security update resolves seven privately reported
vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could
allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using
Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited the most severe of
these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user.
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.

MS13-098
/ KB2893294
– Vulnerability in Windows Could Allow Remote Code Execution

This security update resolves a privately reported
vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code
execution if a user or application runs or installs a specially crafted, signed
portable executable (PE) file on an affected system.

MS13-099
/ KB2909158
– Vulnerability in Microsoft Scripting Runtime Object Library
Could Allow Remote Code Execution

This security update resolves a privately reported
vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code
execution if an attacker convinces a user to visit a specially crafted website
or a website that hosts specially crafted content. An attacker who successfully
exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user.
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.

MS13-100
/ KB2904244
– Vulnerabilities in Microsoft SharePoint Server Could Allow
Remote Code Execution

This security update resolves multiple privately reported
vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office server software. These vulnerabilities
could allow remote code execution if an authenticated attacker sends specially
crafted page content to a SharePoint server. An attacker who successfully
exploited these vulnerabilities could run arbitrary code in the security
context of the W3WP service account on the target SharePoint site.

MS13-101
/ KB2880430
– Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow
Elevation of Privilege

This security update resolves five privately reported
vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The more severe of these vulnerabilities
could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to a system and runs
a specially crafted application. An attacker must have valid logon credentials
and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability.

MS13-102
/ KB2898715
– Vulnerability in LRPC Client Could Allow Elevation of
Privilege

This security update resolves a privately reported
vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow elevation of
privilege if an attacker spoofs an LRPC server and sends a specially crafted
LPC port message to any LRPC client. An attacker who successfully exploited the
vulnerability could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or
create new accounts with full administrator rights. An attacker must have valid
logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability.

MS13-103
/ KB2905244
– Vulnerability in ASP.NET SignalR Could Allow Elevation of
Privilege

This security update resolves a privately reported
vulnerability in ASP.NET SignalR. The vulnerability could allow elevation of
privilege if an attacker reflects specially crafted JavaScript back to the
browser of a targeted user.

MS13-104
/ KB2909976
– Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Could Allow Information
Disclosure

This security update resolves one privately reported
vulnerability in Microsoft Office that could allow information disclosure if a
user attempts to open an Office file hosted on a malicious website. An attacker
who successfully exploited this vulnerability could ascertain access tokens
used to authenticate the current user on a targeted SharePoint or other
Microsoft Office server site.

MS13-105
/ KB2915705
– Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server Could Allow
Remote Code Execution

This security update resolves three publicly disclosed
vulnerabilities and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange
Server. The most severe of these vulnerabilities exist in the WebReady Document
Viewing and Data Loss Prevention features of Microsoft Exchange Server. These
vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution in the security context of
the LocalService account if an attacker sends an email message containing a
specially crafted file to a user on an affected Exchange server. The
LocalService account has minimum privileges on the local system and presents anonymous
credentials on the network.

MS13-106
/ KB2905238
– Vulnerability in a Microsoft Office Shared Component Could
Allow Security Feature Bypass

This security update resolves one publicly disclosed
vulnerability in a Microsoft Office shared component that is currently being
exploited. The vulnerability could allow security feature bypass if a user
views a specially crafted webpage in a web browser capable of instantiating COM
components, such as Internet Explorer. In a web-browsing attack scenario, an
attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could bypass the Address
Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) security feature, which helps protect users
from a broad class of vulnerabilities. The security feature bypass by itself
does not allow arbitrary code execution. However, an attacker could use this
ASLR bypass vulnerability in conjunction with another vulnerability, such as a
remote code execution vulnerability that could take advantage of the ASLR
bypass to run arbitrary code.


As co-founder and Managing Partner at The CISO Group,
Alan Shimel is responsible for driving the vision and mission of the company.
The CISO Group offers security consulting and PCI compliance management for the
payment card industry. Prior to The CISO Group, Alan was the Chief Strategy
Officer at StillSecure. Shimel was the public persona of StillSecure as it grew
from start up to helping defend some of the largest and most sensitive networks
in the world.

Shimel is an often-cited personality in the technology
community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences
and events. His commentary about the state of security, open source and life is
followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast,
“Ashimmy, After All These Years” (www.ashimmy.com).

Alan has helped build several successful technology
companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of
technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York
street smarts combine to form a unique personality.