December Patch Day Round-Up

ShavlikSecurityAlthough it was not as large as the November Patch Tuesday, December’s Patch Tuesday still had some important updates to close out the year.  Microsoft released seven bulletins, three of which were critical.  The three critical updates affect Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and VBScript engine.  Also, the Exchange update (MS14-075), which was deferred from the November Patch Tuesday, did release this month.

The Microsoft side of Patch Tuesday does not seem all that daunting of a challenge aside from the Exchange update.  Adobe, on the other hand, has added a number of critical updates to the December Patch Tuesday, which effectively doubles the priority 1 list for the month.  Adobe pre-announced an update for Acrobat and Reader, but on Patch Tuesday they released updates for Flash, Shockwave, and ColdFusion.  Shockwave and ColdFusion were lower priority updates, but the Flash update is resolving a vulnerability which was already being exploited in the wild.  We also have a couple of things to for you to watch out for in today’s Patch Tuesday Round-Up.

Known issues to look out for:

  • KB3004394: An update Windows Root Certificate Program in Windows, has caused some issues for companies.  The update, when applied to Windows 7 or Server 2008 systems, has caused a few issues such as MMC functions requiring Administrator authentication even when logged on as an Administrator, Windows Defender Service failing to start, and Windows Update Service being unable to apply additional updates.  KB3024777 has been released to fix the issue by removing KB3004394.
  • An issue occurred on Windows 10 Technical Preview where some users had to remove Office before they could apply the December update.  Recommendation is to try applying the updates before going through the more tedious workaround of removing office, installing updates, then re-installing office.  Most users will not see the issue.
  • Cannot insert object” error in an ActiveX custom Office solution after you install the MS14-082 security update.
  • Two of the November Bulletins had re-releases for specific affected products.  You will likely see some of those updates being reapplied this month.  Recommendation is to do so as the original fixes were not complete.  MS14-066 (Schannel) update on Vista and 2008 and MS14-065 (IE Cumulative) update on IE 8 for Windows 7 or 2008 R2 or IE10.  In the case of IE, applying the December IE Cumulative will also resolve the issues in the re-release.

Shavlik Priority 1 Updates (Priority 1 updates should be applied as soon as possible):

Normally I would start with Microsoft, but your highest priority this month should be Adobe Flash, the Advisory for updating the IE Flash Plug-In and the Google Chrome update to update Flash.

  •  APSB14-27 : Security updates available for Adobe Flash Player – This update resolves six vulnerabilities, one of which (CVE-2014-9163) was discovered being exploited in the wild.  The CVSSv2 base score for this vulnerability is a 10.0, which is the highest that can be assigned and it is Network Exploitable meaning an attacker does not need local network access or local access to exploit the vulnerability.  Admins should ensure they update Flash this month.  Not only for this update, but also for the other two Flash updates that occurred since November.  To fully patch Flash you must also update the Advisory for IE and the Chrome release so you have updated the plug-in for both browsers.
  • MSAF-034: Update for Vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player in Internet Explorer  – Updates the Flash Plug-In for IE.  Nuff said.
  • CHROME-119: Chrome 39.0.2171.95 – Ditto on the Flash Plug-In.  Update it.  In addition Google released a Chrome update just after the November Patch Tuesday that included 42 security updates, including many High priority updates.  That is two very good reasons to update Chrome ASAP.
  • MS14-080: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (3008923) – This update is rated as Critical and resolves fourteen privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.  Many of the vulnerabilities involve memory corruption, continuing a trend we have seen for most of 2014.
  • MS14-081: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office Web Apps Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3017301) – This update resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Office Web Apps, which could lead to remote code execution if exploited.  The attacker would gain rights equal to the logged on user, so running as less than a full admin could reduce the impact of this type of attack if exploited.
  • MS14-084: Vulnerability in VBScript Scripting Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3016711) –  This update resolves one privately reported vulnerability in the VBScript engine.  If exploited an attacker would gain equal rights to the logged on user.  If the user is a full admin, the attacker would gain complete control of the affected system.
  • APSB14-28 : Security Updates available for Adobe Reader and Acrobat – This update resolves 20 privately reported vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.  The impacts vary, but the worst of these could lead to code execution.  Adobe rated the update as a Priority 1, the highest priority Adobe assigns.

Shavlik Priority 2 Updates (Priority 2 updates should be tested and rolled out in a reasonable time frame, typically within 10-30 days of release):

  • MS14-075: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (3009712) – This update is rated as Important and resolves four privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange server.  Originally slated for November, this update was held until the December release.  Also, if you wait for the cumulative updates before updating, you may want to read up on the latest here.  The Exchange 2010 CU8 ran into some issues and was pulled from circulation then re-released.  The updated RU8 package is version number 14.03.0224.002 if you need to confirm you have the updated package.
  • MS14-082: Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3017349) – This update is rated as Important and resolves one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Office.  If you have not rolled this out yet please check on this article which I referenced in the known issues above.  “Cannot insert object” error in an ActiveX custom Office solution after you install the MS14-082 security update.
  • MS14-083: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3017347) – This update is rated as Important and resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel.
  • MS14-085: Vulnerability in Microsoft Graphics Component Could Allow Information Disclosure (3013126) – This update resolves one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Graphics Component which could lead to information disclosure.

And that closes out December’s Round-Up.  Hopefully you all have your patching wrapped up before Christmas so you can relax, kick back, and enjoy the holidays.