Microsoft fixes 46 flaws in Windows, IE, Office, other products

Companies should prioritize three security bulletins that are rated critical

Fourteen critical vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer were among the targets of Microsoft's monthly batch of security patches released Tuesday. In all, it fixed 46 vulnerabilities across products including Windows, Internet Explorer and Office.

The patches were organized in 13 security bulletins, three flagged as critical and ten as important. The critical bulletins, MS15-043, MS15-044 and MS15-045, cover remote code execution vulnerabilities in Windows, IE, Office, Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Lync and Silverlight.

The priority for administrators should be MS15-043 which fixes 22 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, of which 14 are rated critical, said Wolfgang Kandek, the CTO of security firm Qualys, via email. Critical vulnerabilities in IE allow attackers to execute arbitrary code on machines when their users visit malicious Web pages, and attackers have a variety of techniques in their arsenal to achieve this, he said.

However, not all remote code execution vulnerabilities end up being exploited by criminals. Last year, only five percent of such vulnerabilities were targeted in real attacks.

"The difficulty is predicting which 5 percent," Kandek said. "I think it makes sense to look at the past to see what got attacked and what vulnerabilities are covered in exploit packs and prepare accordingly."

Next on the list of priorities should be MS15-044 because it fixes two vulnerabilities in a font parsing library used by many Microsoft products. Attackers could exploit these flaws by embedding a specially crafted font in documents or Web pages.

"Patch quickly, in less than two weeks if you can," Kandek said.

One reason for that is that criminals are quicker than ever to adopt exploits for popular programs, especially reliable ones they can use at scale. But companies should also start to get used to an accelerated patch tempo because Microsoft plans to push out updates for Windows 10 as they're ready instead of on a fixed schedule.

Companies will get the option to delay those updates for some systems by using a new service called Windows Update for Business. However, once a security patch reaches consumer deployments, the vulnerabilities it fixes are essentially revealed.

It's been known for a long time that attackers can reverse engineer patches to figure out where the bugs are and how to exploit them, so companies might not have the luxury of delaying patches for too long.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchesMicrosoftsecuritypatch managementExploits / vulnerabilitiesqualys

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?