Don’t Get Caught In The Crossfire

The Duqu virus is squarely aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Unless you’re connected with Iran’s nuclear program, your chances of being directly targeted are extremely low. However, Microsoft was freaked out enough to issue a security bulletin for Windows users. So, better safe than sorry, protect yourself against the possibility of becoming collateral damage in an epic, upcoming attack.

Microsoft issues Duqu virus workaround for Windows

Microsoft has issued a temporary fix to the pernicious Duqu virus — also known as “Son of Stuxnet” — which could affect users of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008.

The company promised the security update earlier this week as it races to deal with the virus, which targets victims via email with a Microsoft Word attachment. The virus is not in the email, but in the attachment itself. A Symantec researcher said if a user opens the Word document, the attacker could take control of the PC, and nose around in an organization’s network to look for data, and the virus could propagate itself.

See also:
Microsoft Security Advisory (2639658)
Microsoft software bug linked to ‘Duqu’ virus
Microsoft Provides Workaround Patch for Duqu Malware
Microsoft announces workaround for the Duqu exploit
Microsoft Issues Temporary Duqu Workaround, Plans 4 Patch Tuesday Fixes
Six Ways to Protect Yourself from Duqu
Microsoft Airs Temporary Fix to Defeat Duqu Worm
Microsoft Releases Temporary Plug For Duqu
Duqu exploits same Windows font engine patched last month, Microsoft confirms
5 Things To Do To Defend Against Duqu
Microsoft issues temporary ‘fix-it’ for Duqu zero-day
Patch Tuesday: Fix for ‘Duqu’ zero-day not likely this month

Is it just me or doesn’t it seem a bit more than odd that Microsoft, a company with close ties to and a past history of working with U.S. intelligence agencies, would publicly issue a workaround to defend against a specific piece of malware that, by many accounts, is being actively and currently used by U.S. intelligence agencies to set up and facilitate an upcoming attack, in cyberspace or otherwise, against Iran’s nuclear program? I mean, it’s not like the Iranians can’t read English, why help them defend against Duqu? Hmmm, something’s not quite right here.

/whatever’s going on, and something is going on, it’s way above my pay grade, but when the endgame comes, don’t forget to duck

Tuesday Fun With Microsoft

Windows, the software of perpetual patching. This installment is fairly large.

Microsoft Fixes Internet Explorer, Windows Flaws in October Patch Tuesday

Microsoft fixed 23 vulnerabilities across eight security bulletins as part of its October Patch Tuesday release.

October’s Patch Tuesday release resolved issues in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9, all versions of Microsoft Windows from XP through 7, .NET and Silverlight, Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway and Host Integration Server, Microsoft said Oct. 11. Two of the patches are rated “critical,” and six are rated “important,” Microsoft said.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-082 – Important
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-081 – Critical
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-080 – Important
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-079 – Important
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-078 – Critical
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-077 – Important
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-076 – Important
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-075 – Important
Microsoft’s October 2011 Patch Tuesday fixes 23 flaws, releases SIRv11
MS wipes out 23 flaws in October’s Patch Tuesday
Patch Internet Explorer Now
23 vulnerabilities squashed by Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday effort
Microsoft Update

So, get busy and happy patching!

/until the next time Microsoft releases patches to make its software suck less . . .

Tuesday Is The Time At Microsoft When We Patch

It’s a relatively small one this time, but critical.

Microsoft Fixes 22 Bugs in July Patch Tuesday

Microsoft addressed 22 security vulnerabilities across four security bulletins in July’s Patch Tuesday update. Three of the patches fix issues in the Windows operating system.

The four bulletins patched issues in all versions of the Windows operating system and in Microsoft Visio 2003 Service Pack 3, Microsoft said in its Patch Tuesday advisory, released July 12. Of the patches, only one has been rated “critical.” The remaining three are rated “important,” according to Microsoft.

“Today’s Patch Tuesday, though light, should not be ignored, as these patches address vulnerabilities that allow attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code on systems and use privilege escalation exploits,” said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee Labs.

Security experts ranked Microsoft bulletin MS11-053, which addressed a critical vulnerability in the Windows Bluetooth stack on Windows Vista and Windows 7, as the highest priority. Attackers could exploit the vulnerability by crafting and sending specially crafted Bluetooth packets to the target system to remotely take control, Microsoft said in its bulletin advisory.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for July 2011
Microsoft fixes 22 security holes
Microsoft issues critical patch for Windows 7, Vista users
Microsoft Releases 4 Updates for Windows and Office
Microsoft warns of critical security hole in Bluetooth stack
Security Experts Warn of Microsoft Bluetooth Vulnerability
Patch Tuesday Fixes Critical Bluetooth Flaw in Windows 7
‘Bluetooth sniper’ Windows vuln fix in light Patch Tuesday
Microsoft Squashes Bluetooth Bug
Microsoft patches ‘sexy’ Bluetooth bug in Vista, Windows 7
Microsoft Fixes 22 Bugs in July Patch Tuesday
Businesses should not ignore critical Microsoft Patch Tuesday update, say experts
Microsoft Patch Tuesday: four security bulletins
Microsoft Patch Tuesday – 12th July 2011
Windows Update

This isn’t the first time you’ve had to update Windows, you know what to do, so get busy.

/until next time, same patch time, same patch channel

Windows 7 Sucks!

Alrighty then. I had to add a new user, but the Active Trader Pro platform is finally up on the new laptop after two days. It looks like I’m still going to need to do some phone mojo during business hours to get the options trading platform running.

And boy oh boy, ultra fast and nifty new computer saddled with Windows 7, treats me like a two year old and fights me tooth and nail against everything I try and do. It really sucks.

/and now on to trying to install legacy software that I already know W7 is going to reject

The New Laptop Is Here!

The laptop itself is awesome! Wrangling the software into submission is another awful matter entirely, Windows 7 64 bit does not play very nice with my familiar, well broken in, just the way I like it, optimized XP world.

/this is going to be a long, hard slog, loud, intense, and sustained swearing is expected to ensue, hopefully I’ll be able to physically restrain myself from striking or otherwise damaging expensive computer hardware

Tuesday Fun With Microsoft

Give it up for Patch Tuesday, everyone’s favorite day of the month. Try and contain your excitement.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday Targets Four Bugs, One Critical

Microsoft on Tuesday issued three security bulletins that tackle four vulnerabilites. Just one of the vulnerabilities is rated critical. The other three are essentially the same bug, despite the fact that they affect three different products.

The first bug, MS11-015, describes two vulnerabilities in Windows Media. One, the only rated critical in this group, is a bug in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player related to the handling of .dvr-ms files. It can lead to remote code execution in the context of user.

The other Windows Media bug, specifically in Microsoft DirectShow, is another instance of the insecure DLL loading bug that Microsoft and other vendors have been fixing for months. MS11-016 describes this bug in Microsoft Groove 2007 and MS11-017 describes it in the Windows Remote Desktop client.

Microsoft also released non-security updates today, including the monthly Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, the update for the Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter, and an update “to resolve issues” in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for March 2011
Microsoft Fixes Four Flaws
Microsoft patches critical Windows drive-by bug
Microsoft fixes critical Windows hole, others
Microsoft Patch Tuesday – three fixes for March, one critical, all ring coding alarms
Patch Tuesday: Gaping security hole in Windows Media Player
Critical Patch Tuesday Flaw Easy to Exploit
Go Plug Your Critical Hole
Microsoft Patch Tuesday leaves MHTML bug unchecked
Zero-day IE flaw not in Microsoft Patch Tuesday
Patch Tuesday Will Skip IE Before PWN2OWN Contest
March Patch Tuesday leaves IE unpatched for Pwn2Own hackers
Microsoft Releases Zero IE8 Security Updates Before “Pwn2Own” Browser Hacking Contest
Windows fix on Patch Tuesday ‘breaks’ VMware software
Microsoft Windows 7 Patches Wreak Havoc With VMware View
Windows 7 Update Breaks VMware Connection
Windows Update

As usual, Microsoft releases a patch that doesn’t even fix all the known issues and doesn’t play well with third party software. Particularly amusing is the fact that Microsoft is waiting to issue further patches until after a hacker contest is over fearing, with good reason, that the hackers will find even more Windows vulnerabilities.

/Microsoft Windows and Swiss cheese, what’s the difference?

It’s A Record Patchapalooza Tuesday!

Does Microsoft Windows suck? Um, why do you ask?

Microsoft drops record 14 bulletins in largest-ever Patch Tuesday

It’s a very busy Patch Tuesday for Windows users: 14 bulletins covering 34 serious security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Silverlight, Microsoft XML Core Services and Server Message Block.

As previously reported, eight of the bulletins are rated “critical” because of the risk of remote code execution attacks. The other six are rated “important.”

The company also released a security advisory to warn of a new elevation of privilege issue in the Windows Service Isolation feature.

Windows users are urged to pay special attention to these four bulletins:

MS10-052 resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft’s MPEG Layer-3 audio codecs. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file or receives specially crafted streaming content from a Web site. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged on user.

MS10-055 resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Cinepak codec that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file, or receives specially crafted streaming content from a Web. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged on user.

MS10-056 resolves four privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens or previews a specially crafted RTF e-mail message. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the local user. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are less exploitable due to additional heap mitigation mechanisms in those operating systems.

MS10-060 resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities, both of which could allow remote code execution, in Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Silverlight.

As Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer points out, the August update was the biggest ever by number of security bulletins, and equaled the single-month record for individual patches.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for August 2010
MS10-052
MS10-055
MS10-056
MS10-060
Windows Update Home
Record Patch Tuesday yields critical Windows, IE fixes
Record Patch Tuesday: Where to Begin
It’s Microsoft Patch Tuesday: August 2010
Microsoft: Big Patch Tuesday for IT Administrators
Microsoft releases record number of security patches
Microsoft issues patches for a record 35 fresh security holes
Microsoft Issues Biggest Security Patch Yet

What the hell is Bill Gates selling anyway, a computer operating system or Swiss cheese?

/you’d better get busy downloading, this one takes a while, sucks if you have dial up

It’s Extra Special Patch Tuesday!

Yep, this gaping hole in Windows is so bad that Microsoft couldn’t even wait until next week’s regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday to try and fix it.

Microsoft issues emergency security patch for million dollar Windows flaw

Microsoft today rushed out an emergency patch for Windows Vista and Windows 7 PCs just eight days before its next Patch Tuesday.

The software giant issues security patches on the second Tuesday of each month, and only rarely issues so-called out-of-band patches. The company has never issued an emergency patch this close to Patch Tuesday, says Jason Miller, data and security team leader at patch management firm, Shavlik Technologies.

“Coming out with this patch this close to a Patch Tuesday is severe,” says Miller. “People should be paying attention to this one, and patch as soon as possible.”

Importantly, the emergency patch does nothing for hundreds of millions of PCs running Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2000, since Microsoft last month stopped issuing security updates for those older versions of its flagship operating system. The company continues to urge Windows XP SP2 users, in particular, to upgrade to Windows XP SP3, which will continue to get security updates, or to buy new Windows 7 PCs.

Update: To be clear, this patch will work on Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP2; Windows Vista, Window Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2. It will not work on Windows XP SP2 or Windows Server 2000.

At the Black Hat and Def Con security conferences in Las Vegas last week, attendees referred to this Windows flaw as a $1 million vulnerability. Savvy hackers can tweak a basic component of all versions of Windows, called LNK. This is the simple coding that enables shortcut program icons to appear on your desktop.

No one in the legit world knew the LNK flaw existed until mid July, when security blogger Brian Krebs began reporting on a sophisticated worm spreading via USB thumb drives. That worm, known has Stuxnet, took advantage of the newly-discovered flaw to run a malicious program designed specifically to breach Siemens SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) software systems. Over a period of months the attackers had infected Siemens SCADA controls in power plants and factories in Iran, Indonesia, India and some Middle East nations, according to antivirus firm Symantec.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-046 – Critical
Microsoft ships rush patch for Windows shortcut bug
Microsoft issues emergency patch for Windows shortcut link vulnerability
Microsoft Patches Windows Shell Vulnerability
Microsoft’s New Patch for Windows Shortcut Exploit
Emergency patch closes LNK hole in Windows
Microsoft sticks to plan, denies emergency patch for XP SP2

The new emergency patch is here, the new emergency patch is here!

/so, if your Windows didn’t automatically update, you’d better do it now

Patchapalooza Tuesday

It’s a triple witching day for computer patches.

Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle Patch Nearly 100 Vulnerabilities

It’s a busy day for IT administrators and information security professionals. Not only is today Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday for the month of April, it is also the day of Adobe’s quarterly security updates. In total, there are 40 vulnerabilities being addressed today–many of them rated as critical and exposing systems to potential remote exploits.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday

A Microsoft spokesperson e-mailed the following “Today, as part of its routine monthly security update cycle, Microsoft is releasing 11 security bulletins to address 25 vulnerabilities: five rated Critical, five rated Important and one rated Moderate. This month’s release affects Windows, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Exchange. Additionally, the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) was updated to include Win32/Magania.”

Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek noted in his blog post “Microsoft’s patch release for April contains 11 bulletins covering 25 vulnerabilities. The bulletins address a wide array of operating systems and software packages, IT administrators with a good inventory of their installed base will have an easier time to evaluating which machines need patches.”

“The critical Microsoft WinVerifyTrust signature validation vulnerability can be used to really enhance social engineering efforts,” said Joshua Talbot, security intelligence manager, Symantec Security Response in an e-mailed statement. “Targeted attacks are popular and since social engineering plays such a large role in them, plan on seeing exploits developed for this vulnerability.”

Talbot continued “It allows an attacker to fool Windows into thinking that a malicious program was created by a legitimate vendor. If a user begins to download an application and they see the Windows’ notification telling them who created it, they might think twice before proceeding if it’s from an unfamiliar source. This vulnerability allows an attacker to force Windows to report to the user that the application was created by any vendor the attacker chooses to impersonate.”

Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle offered this analysis “More movies and more malware: that’s what we’ve got to look forward to on the Internet. Microsoft is patching critical bugs in Windows Media Player and Direct Show this month–both of these bugs lend themselves to online video malware. If you put these fixes together with Apple’s recent patch of Quicktime, it’s pretty obvious that attackers are finding a lot of victims through video.”

nCircle’s Tyler Reguly points out that there is also a greater message to be learned from the patches. “As an avid Windows XP user, I’m leaning more and more towards making the jump to Windows 7; with the added security it just makes sense. Looking at the top two vulnerabilities (MS10-027 and MS10-026), my Windows XP systems are vulnerable to both, yet my Windows 7 laptop isn’t affected by either of them. The newer operating system just makes sense.”

Adobe Quarterly Update

As if eleven security bulletins fixing 25 different vulnerabilities wasn’t enough, IT administrators must also address the critical updates released today from Adobe. nCircle’s Storms points out that “Every one of the 15 bugs can be used for remote code execution. Given the increase in the number of attacks that use Adobe PDF files, all users are strongly urged to upgrade immediately.”

Storms added “In stark contrast to Microsoft’s patch process, Adobe’s security bulletin information lacks details, especially critical information about potential workarounds. For enterprises that have a long test cycle, it can take weeks or even months to roll out updates. With no workaround information, Adobe leaves their enterprise customers vulnerable and security teams everywhere frustrated and annoyed.”

Andrew Brandt, lead threat research analyst with Webroot, warns “What’s more, they should be aware that Foxit Reader–which also reads PDFs–is actually more vulnerable.”

It is also worth noting that Adobe has rolled out its new update system which it has been beta testing over the past couple of months. Users can now configure Adobe software to automatically install updates, enabling security patches to be applied without requiring any user intervention.

Don’t Forget Oracle

Wait, there’s more! Not wanting to be left out of the patch day festivities, Oracle has also unleashed its own deluge of updates–more than Microsoft and Adobe combined.

There is a little bit of good news, though. Very few organizations will actually be impacted by every single one of the disclosed vulnerabilities. Qualys’ Kandek points out “This is a big release for Microsoft, addressing a wide selection of software. IT administrators probably will not have all of the included software packages and configurations installed in their environment and therefore will need to install only a subset of the 11 bulletins.”

The same logic holds true for Oracle and, to a lesser extent Adobe–although Adobe Reader is fairly ubiquitous. Have fun!

See also:
Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle offer fixes in big Patch Tuesday
Patch Tuesday: Microsoft safeguards video, Adobe secures PDFs
Microsoft Patch Tuesday Fixes 5 Critical Flaws
Microsoft Targets Media Flaws In April Patches
Microsoft blocks ‘movies-to-malware’ attacks
Microsoft Releases Multiple Updates; Vista SP0 Support Ends
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for April 2010
New Adobe Auto-Updater Debuts On Super (Patch) Tuesday
Adobe Patches Acrobat/Reader Vulnerabilities, Updates on Updating
Security update available for Adobe Reader and Acrobat

/so, you know the drill people, get busy downloading those patches, hope you’re not on dial up!

Microsoft Cleans Up After Chinese Hack Of Google, Obama Turns The Other Cheek

Microsoft to release patch for IE hole on Thursday

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it will release on Thursday a patch to fix the latest hole in Internet Explorer that was used in the China-based attack on Google and for which an exploit has been released on the Internet since last week.

The company plans to release the patch as close to 10 a.m. PST on Thursday as possible and host a public Webcast at 1 p.m. PST, according to the security advisory.

Microsoft continues to see limited attacks and has only seen evidence of successful attacks against Internet Explorer 6, according to Jerry Bryant, senior security program manager at Microsoft.

“This is a standard cumulative update, accelerated from our regularly scheduled February release, for Internet Explorer with an aggregate severity rating of Critical,” he said in a statement.

“It addresses the vulnerability related to recent attacks against Google and a small subset of corporations, as well as several other vulnerabilities. Once applied, customers are protected against the known attacks that have been widely publicized,” Bryant said. “We recommend that customers install the update as soon as it is available. For customers using automatic updates, this update will automatically be applied once it is released.”

Vulnerable software is IE 6 on Microsoft Windows 2000 and IE 6, 7, and 8 on supported editions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft said.

So, while China continues its relentless, covert cyberwar against U.S. and other Western commercial, government, and military targets, stealing information and secrets and causing economic and national security damage to our computer networks, guess what the Obama administration has decided to do, against the advice of U.S. intelligence officials and experts?

China removed as top priority for spies

The White House National Security Council recently directed U.S. spy agencies to lower the priority placed on intelligence collection for China, amid opposition to the policy change from senior intelligence leaders who feared it would hamper efforts to obtain secrets about Beijing’s military and its cyber-attacks.

The downgrading of intelligence gathering on China was challenged by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta after it was first proposed in interagency memorandums in October, current and former intelligence officials said.

The decision downgrades China from “Priority 1” status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to “Priority 2,” which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan.

The National Security Council staff, in response, pressed ahead with the change and sought to assure Mr. Blair and other intelligence chiefs that the change would not affect the allocation of resources for spying on China or the urgency of focusing on Chinese spying targets, the officials told The Washington Times.

White House National Security Council officials declined to comment on the intelligence issue. Mike Birmingham, a spokesman for Mr. Blair, declined to comment. A CIA spokesman also declined to comment.

But administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the new policy is part of the Obama administration’s larger effort to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for January 2010
New IE hole exploited in attacks on U.S. firms
Microsoft Scrambles to Patch Browser
Microsoft patching “Google hack” flaw in IE tomorrow
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-002 Coming Thursday for IE Zero-Day
Microsoft to issue “Google attack” browser patch
Microsoft to issue emergency IE patch Thursday
Microsoft will issue emergency IE patch on Thursday
China removed as top priority for spies
China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering: White House
‘China no longer top priority for intelligence gathering’
China: Still an Intelligence Priority

Relax, don’t worry, the country is in the very best of hands.

/Obama’s NSC, more than a dozen morons stuffed in a four passenger clown car