Security Experts:

Microsoft Patches Many Exploited, Disclosed Flaws

Microsoft has released a total of 18 security bulletins to address tens of vulnerabilities, including more than a dozen that have already been publicly disclosed or exploited in attacks.

The March 2017 updates also include the patches that should have been released last month. Microsoft postponed most of the February security updates – except the updates that fixed Flash Player flaws – due to an unspecified “last minute issue.”

The latest security updates patch critical and important vulnerabilities in Windows, Edge, Internet Explorer, Office, Skype, Lync and Silverlight.

The advisories published by Microsoft show that 12 of the vulnerabilities have been publicly disclosed, including an SMB-related denial-of-service (DoS) flaw in Windows (CVE-2017-0016), a Windows kernel privilege escalation (CVE-2017-0050), a remote code execution bug in a graphics component (CVE-2017-0014), a DoS issue in Office (CVE-2017-0029), and a Hyper-V DoS vulnerability (CVE-2017-0097).

The list of flaws whose details have been made public also includes information disclosure vulnerabilities in Edge (CVE-2017-0065) and Internet Explorer (CVE-2017-0008), several spoofing flaws in the two web browsers (CVE-2017-0012, CVE-2017-0033, CVE-2017-0069), and memory corruption and privilege escalation issues in Internet Explorer (CVE-2017-0037, CVE-2017-0154).

In February, Google Project Zero disclosed the details of a medium-severity information disclosure flaw affecting the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI). The security hole, tracked as CVE-2017-0038, has been addressed, but Microsoft’s advisory erroneously shows that it has not been disclosed.

There are three vulnerabilities that, according to Microsoft, have been exploited in attacks before patches were made available.

One of them is CVE-2017-0149, a memory corruption vulnerability affecting Internet Explorer. The weakness allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user by getting the target to access a specially crafted website or open a malicious email attachment.

Another zero-day is CVE-2017-0005, a privilege escalation vulnerability caused due to the way the Windows GDI component handles objects in memory. The flaw allows an authenticated attacker to run arbitrary code in kernel mode, Microsoft said.

The third zero-day has been described as an XML Core Services information disclosure vulnerability (CVE-2017-0022), which allows an attacker to test for the presence of files on the disk.

Microsoft has not shared any information on the attacks involving these zero-days, but security firms could provide more details in the upcoming days.

Adobe released security updates on Tuesday to address a total of eight vulnerabilities in Flash Player and Shockwave Player. One of the bulletins released by Microsoft addresses the Flash Player flaws in the libraries used by Internet Explorer and Edge.

Microsoft intends to stop publishing security bulletins and instead provide security update information on the new Security Update Guide website. However, in an effort to make the transition easier for customers, the company has published security bulletins as well this month.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.