Security Experts:

Microsoft Preps Critical Patch Tuesday Security Updates

Microsoft is planning to release 16 security bulletins next week as part of Patch Tuesday, including five that are rated 'critical.'

The updates include fixes for Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, Exchange, .NET Framework, Internet Information Services (IIS), Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), Input Method Editor (IME) (Japanese) and kernel mode driver (KMD).

All but one of the critical bulletins is aimed at Microsoft Windows; the remaining critical update is aimed at Internet Explorer. Four of the five critical bulletins address remote code execution issues, while the fifth deals with privilege escalation in Windows. 

"IT pros will be thankful for some holiday time off at the end of this month because November Patch Tuesday will certainly keep them busy," blogged Russ Ernst, director of product management at Lumension.

"We have enjoyed a relatively low number of patches each month in 2014 but November definitely takes a big jump up," he added. "We have to go back to June 2011 for the last time Microsoft released this many bulletins in a single month, although in that month there were 9 critical bulletins. The most recent monthly update that included nearly this many bulletins was when Microsoft released 14 bulletins back in September 2013. Next week will tell us how many CVEs are involved but suffice to say, this patch load will be a big impact to the enterprise."

Accompanying the critical bulletins are nine bulletins rated 'important' and two classified as 'moderate.' Those updates impact Microsoft Office, .NET Framework, SharePoint 2010 and Exchange.

"The patching priority will follow the critical issues, with the Internet Explorer patch being the most exploitable attack vector and the most likely to have already been involved with active attacks in the wild," said Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7. "Exchange server patching is always tricky because the systems are mission critical and often deployed on the perimeter. Administrators will have to balance the risk of exploit with their perceived exposure and their tolerance for downtime."

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