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Microsoft Closes Critical IE Security Vulnerabilities in Patch Tuesday Update

The bad news – attackers have continued to leverage a highly-publicized Internet Explorer vulnerability. The good news is however that vulnerability now has a patch.

The bad news – attackers have continued to leverage a highly-publicized Internet Explorer vulnerability. The good news is however that vulnerability now has a patch.

Inside the five security bulletins Microsoft released today for Patch Tuesday is a critical fix for CVE-2014-0322, a vulnerability that has been used to target IE 10 users. While it was first spotted in February being used in attacks on the Veterans of Foreign Wars website, since then it has been used against visitors of a variety of sites.

“It’s evident that the repercussions of exploit code of an unpatched vulnerability that found its way to the public domain can have quite an impact; exploit code that has been crafted for a targeted attack is virtually later on copied and used to drop crimeware binaries,” blogged Elad Sharf, a researcher with Websense.  “We could see that the exploit code for CVE-2014-0322 was encompassed and served in a variety of ways as it “evolved” in scale: starting from being utilized on a cybersquatted lure website used in a low-volume and selected “under the radar” targeted attacks to being served through hidden iframes and exploit code that was directly placed on compromised websites with the ultimate aim to impact as many browsing users as possible with crimeware.”

This bug affects IE 9 as well as well as IE 10. But it is hardly the only Internet Explorer vulnerability to be patched in this update that is under attack. In actuality, the IE update – MS14-012 – fixes 18 separate vulnerabilities, including CVE-2014-0324, which has also been exploited in targeted attacks against users of IE 8.  

“Suffice it to say that it is extremely important to install MS14-012 as soon as possible,” said BeyondTrust CTO Marc Maiffret.

Aside from the IE bulletin, Microsoft also fixed a critical issue in Windows’ DirectShow component. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially-crafted image file.

The remaining are rated ‘Important’. But Microsoft’s Dustin Childs advised users to pay particular attention to a security bypass affecting Microsoft Silverlight.

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“The issue wasn’t publicly known and it isn’t under active attack, however it can impact your security in ways that aren’t always obvious,” blogged Childs. “Specifically, the update (MS14-014) removes an avenue attackers could use to bypass ASLR protections. Fixes like this one increase the cost of exploitation to an attacker, who must now find a different way to make their code execution exploit reliable…Shutting down an ASLR bypass could be considered one of the most harmonious things to do to help increase customer security.”

Since this vulnerability is heterogeneous, organizations should ensure their Macs are updated as well, noted Russ Ernst, director, product management, Lumension. Though Silverlight is no longer under development by Microsoft, the company has said they will support it through October 2021, he added.

In addition to the Microsoft updates, Adobe Systems issued an update for Flash Player to cover two vulnerabilities rated ‘Important.’ 

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