Patches come thick and fast in major update spree
Monthly and out-of-band issues flood admins' to-do lists.
The release of this month's Patch Tuesday security bulletins from Microsoft, with a fairly average 10 alerts covering 34 separate vulnerabilities, is accompanied by a number of additional fixes and updates which will keep security admins busy this week. Adobe has announced plans to provide an out-of-band patch for a major flaw in their Flash player software, while Apple is releasing updated versions of Safari which include a raft of security fixes.
Of the ten Patch Tuesday bulletins, only 3 are labelled 'Critical' by Microsoft, those affecting media decompression, ActiveX and, as always, Internet Explorer. The remaining seven are marked as only 'Important' by their creators, although all but one are rated 'critical' on at least some types of system on the scale used by ISC, as reported in the thorough briefing in the SANS Handler's Diary, here. Microsoft's own descriptions of the patches can be found in the official bulletin here.
The latest in the torrent of serious vulnerabilities uncovered in Adobe's popular product range is a highly-exploitable flaw in the current version of Flash Player, which affects users of multiple platforms and will also impact users of version 9 of Acrobat and the ubiquitous Reader. Adobe plan to release a fix for Flash Player on Windows, Mac and Linux by tomorrow, but Solaris users will have to wait a little longer, while the corresponding patch for Acrobat and Reader may take several more weeks to arrive.
Older versions of the PDF handling software, and also a release candidate for a new version of Flash Player, are thought to be safe from the flaws, but Acrobat and Reader users can work around the problem by deleting, renaming or otherwise rendering inoperative the authplay.dll component which provides Flash functionality within PDF documents. Adobe's advisory is here, with a blog post providing more details here.
Finally Apple's big announcement this week has been the latest versions of their Safari browser, fixing a swathe of problems noted in previous editions. Most notable among these patches is a fix for a long-known flaw in most browsers allowing malicious sites to harvest history data from the browser, for which Safari is one of the first to provide a fix. Apple's list of vulnerabilities covered by the new releases is here, with detailed coverage of the history-harvesting problem in The Register here.