Light Patch Tuesday for Microsoft

Microsoft on Tuesday issued four security bulletins -- all rated important. The bulletins address six vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and Dynamics AX and give IT a break from the slew of critical patches in the fourth quarter of 2013.

We turned to Russ Ernst, director of product management at Lumension, to get his take on the first Patch Tuesday of the year. He told us this release aligns with Januarys in past years -- a small number of Microsoft patches.

EUFirst on your list of Microsoft priorities should be MS14-002, which is a patch for the elevation of privilege vulnerability discovered in late November with active exploits against Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users,EU Ernst said. EUThis bulletin addresses 1 CVE and has only been seen used in conjunction with a vulnerability in Adobe Reader and Acrobat that was patched in May as part of Adobe Security Bulletin APSB 13-15.EU

According to Ernst, this was typically exploited by an attacker sending a spear phishing e-mail with a bad Adobe link. Once clicked, that attacker could then gain administrator access to the machine. Keeping your Adobe applications fully patched will mitigate this vulnerability, he said, but itEUs important to apply MS14-002 as a defense in depth.

Your Top Priorities

EUSecond on your list of priorities should be MS14-001. ItEUs a vulnerability in Office that could allow a remote code execution and it covers 3 CVEs,EU Ernst said. EUWhile there are no known active attacks, the vulnerability has an exploitability index of one, meaning exploit code is likely within the next 30 days. This bulletin is applicable to all currently supported versions of Microsoft Word on Windows. Microsoft Office for Mac is unaffected.EU

Ernst said MS14-003 is a vulnerability that could lead to an elevation of privilege in the Windows kernel mode drivers. It covers one...

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