Between Microsoft's Patch Tuesday and Adobe's Shockwave Player update, IT administrators have a fairly heavy load of third-party patches to apply this month.
fixing several security vulnerabilities in its Shockwave Player, as well as its
Robohelp authoring product, as part of the companys scheduled update.
Product Security Incident Report Team closed nine critical security holes in Shockwave Player
version 188.8.131.523, as well as
earlier versions of the software, for both Microsoft Windows and Apples Mac OS
X, according to the security advisory released Feb. 14. The memory corruption
and heap overflow vulnerabilities in Shockwave 3D Asset, if exploited, could
potentially allow attackers to run malicious code, according to Adobe.
The 3D Asset
is a standard component within Shockwave Player that allows users to open and
view certain 3D format files. Adobe last patched this component in June.
bulletin addressed an "important" vulnerability in RoboHelp 9 or 8 for Word
on Windows. Attackers
could potentially use a specially crafted link to launch a cross-site scripting
attack on Web-based output generated with RoboHelp, according to the security
advisory (APSB12-04). RoboHelp is an authoring software for technical writers
and developers creating online Help menus for Web-based and desktop
released its Patch Tuesday bulletins for February on the same day. Even though
there were only nine patches from Microsoft, administrators have a fairly long
list of third-party updates to work through.
"very quiet" December and January, non-Microsoft vendors are getting
back in the patching cycle, according to Jason Miller, manager of research and
development at VMware.
released Firefox 10.1
to close a security flaw that
exposed users to drive-by attacks in the latest version of its Web browser,
which it had released just last month. The fix is also applicable to the
Thunderbird mail client and SeaMonkey application suite. Google updated its
Chrome Web browser twice in the past few weeks to close bugs and add new
security features. Opera, Real Player, Skype and Yahoo Messenger have also been
issued a series of critical patches to close vulnerabilities in pcAnywhere in
late January. The company recommended that organizations disable pcAnywhere
until the patches had been applied, or risk being compromised remotely.
Symantec is also offering free upgrades to anyone using older, unsupported
released its own Security Update for Mac OS X Lion and Snow Leopard
addressing 52 issues earlier this month. Apple followed up with a second security update
for Snow Leopard users a
few days later following reports that the first security update was causing the
systems to crash.
strategies at many businesses are "often less than adequate," Secunia
said in its annual report released also on Feb. 14. Third-party programs are
driving the growth in software vulnerabilities
, according to Secunia.
In 2011, 78 percent of disclosed vulnerabilities affected third-party programs,
compared with 12 percent found in operating systems and 10 percent found in
addressing errors in software installed on typical end-points, organizations
and individuals are in effect leaving their windows wide open for cyber-criminals
to enter and compromise their most sensitive data, said Stefan Frei, research
analyst director at Secunia.
applications that cyber-criminals take aim at are "often vastly different"
from what organizations think are likely to be targeted, said Frei.
Administrators often focus on patching business-critical programs, not
realizing that cyber-criminals will easily target less critical programs as
well. Cyber-criminals "only need one vulnerable program to compromise the
host," said Frei.