Microsoft Plans 16 Security Bulletins for June's Patch Tuesday

Microsoft will release 16 bulletins next week to fix 34 security vulnerabilities in all versions of Windows, Excel, Internet Explorer and SQL Server.

Microsoft plans to fix 34 bugs across 16 separate vulnerabilities in yet another large Patch Tuesday release this June.

Nine of the vulnerabilities have a maximum severity rating of "critical," and the remaining seven are rated "important," Microsoft said June 9 in its advance notification. Ten vulnerabilities-all critical bulletins and one rated important-could result in remote-code execution. Two bulletins will address denial-of-service vulnerabilities, two for information-disclosure flaws and the remaining two for escalation of privilege. Most of the patches will require a reboot after being applied.

This month's Patch Tuesday release is expected June 14.

With 16 bulletins, this update is just one security bulletin shy but still much smaller than the humongous April update, which addressed a whopping 64 bugs across a variety of software in 17 bulletins. Microsoft tends to space out its patches, alternating large updates with small ones each month. May's Patch Tuesday contained only two security bulletins.

"It is clear that Microsoft is back to its typical practice of being very disruptive on Patch Tuesday," said Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst for Lumension.

The company will address security flaws in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, SQL Server, Forefront Threat Management Gateway, .NET Framework, Silverlight and Visual Studio. Two of the critical bulletins close high-severity bugs in Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8 and 9, according to Microsoft. All versions of Microsoft Excel going back to 2002 for both Mac OS X and Windows will be updated, including the versions in Office 2010 and 2011. Microsoft InfoPath 2007 and 2010 will also be updated.

All supported versions of Windows are affected, Microsoft said. Thirteen of the bulletins will address operating system issues. For Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, some of the updates will affect the core installation. SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will be patched.

"This will be a long, hot summer for IT professionals, and there is just no room to slow down," Henry said. IT departments are facing a lot of pressure from board members in the wake of recent high-profile security breaches, according to Henry.

System administrators will need to plan closely as both workstations and servers are affected by the critical bulletins, according to Wolfgang Kandek, CTO for Qualys. They will also have to account for updating all versions of Excel, applying the quarterly updates from Adobe, and the recent large update from Oracle that fixed 17 remote-control execution vulnerabilities, Kandek said.

Adobe is expected to patch a slew of critical bugs in Reader and Acrobat for both Windows and Mac OS X in its quarterly update, also expected the same day. Adobe delayed fixing a number of zero-day vulnerabilities in Reader X and Acrobat X over the past few months, noting that the sandbox technology prevented malicious files from executing. It appears this update will include those fixes. Administrators have also recently had to deal with an out-of-band patch for a universal cross-site scripting flaw in Flash that was already being exploited in the wild.