Microsoft Issues Office Fix in Patch Tuesday Releases

One of the bulletins was deemed critical, and deals with vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office that can result in a remote code execution.

Microsoft unveiled seven security bulletins—including two advisories—as part of its monthly Patch Tuesday release Oct. 9.

One of the seven bulletins is deemed critical, and it covers two issues in Microsoft Office. The bulletin, MS12-064, can result in remote code execution, where an attacker is able to run code on a system from a remote server.

“This could occur if a specially-crafted RTF file is opened or previewed,” Yunsun Wee, director of response communications, said in a video on the Microsoft Security Response Center site.

The vulnerabilities were not known, and there is no evidence of any attacks having occurred because of the issues, Wee said. Microsoft said one of the two issues covered by MS12-064 was considered critical. Microsoft recommends applying the patch immediately.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of cloud security solutions vendor Qualys, also recommend quick action on the patch.

“It addresses a vulnerability that can be exploited via a malicious RTF formatted email through the Outlook Preview pane without having to open the email,” Kandek said in a blog post. “Since the development complexity of an attack against this vulnerability is low, we believe this vulnerability will be the first to have an exploit developed and recommend applying the MS12-064 update as quickly as possible.”

Marcus Carey, security researcher at Rapid7, which offers vulnerability management and compliance solutions, said in a statement about Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday announcements that given the vulnerability enables attackers to “fully compromise the victim’s system,” both organizations and consumers should rush to apply the MS13-064 patch.

“This is the type of exploit that we have seen being used as a part of spear-phishing attacks,” Carey wrote.

The other bulletins were deemed important, and include MS12-069, which applies to Windows 7 and Windows 2008R. It addresses a denial-of-service kind of vulnerability where attackers can use what Kandek called a “specifically malformed Kerberos pack” that can crash a system. In addition, the MS12-066 patch targets a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the SafeHTML library that is used in a host of different Microsoft products, including Sharepoint and Lync, the software vendor’s instant messaging client.

According to Microsoft, MS12-067 deals with a vulnerability coming from the Oracle Outside-In library. The Patch Tuesday release said that Oracle had addressed a number of critical vulnerabilities in the library in June, and that now all software providers leveraging the technology by embedding it into their products need to provide updates to their solutions. For Microsoft, that means Sharepoint.

“This library is heavily used in the enterprise application space and is embedded into many file search and indexing applications, including mobile gateways such as Blackberry Enterprise Server,” Rapid7’s Carey said. “I would expect to see a rash of related security updates become available for all enterprise products using this library.”

The final bulletin, MS12-070, deals with another XSS vulnerability; this one is one of the reporting modules of SQL Server. “An attacker could use it to gain information about the SQL Server installation and would have to convince an SQL server administrator to click on a link that contains the malicious XSS code,” according to Qualys’ Kandek.

Security Advisory 2661254, which was first released in June, is now available as an automatic download and will help users strengthen their certificates to 1,024 bits. Anything less than 1,024 bits is easier to forge, according to Kandek.

Security Advisory 2749655 is aimed at improving a user’s overall security profile rather than dealing with a specific product. “The update addresses potential compatibility issues due to a signature time stamp on valid files expiring before it should,” Microsoft said in its Patch Tuesday statement.