March Patch Tuesday Points to Desirability of IE 11 Upgrade

Microsoft on Tuesday released five security bulletins: two ranked critical and three ranked important. The bulletins fix 23 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer and Silverlight.

"Obviously the IE update should be your highest priority, but do not ignore the update eliminating a DEP [data execution prevention] and ASLR [address space layout randomization] bypass as it can have a long term impact in improving your systems' security," said Dustin Childs, group manager, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. MS14-012 addresses 18 issues in IE.

Childs also pointed to MS14-014, which provides an update to address a security feature bypass in Silverlight. This issue wasn't publicly known and it isn't under active attack, he said, however it can affect your security in ways that are not always obvious.

IE Fix, No Surprise There

"Anymore, it's cause for pause when we don't see an IE update in Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. It's a popular browser and a favorite among attackers," said Russ Ernst, director of product management at security firm Lumension. "Internet Explorer accounted for 27 percent of all Microsoft vulnerabilities last year, making it the most targeted Microsoft application. While updating IE, make sure you also include the Flash Player update from Adobe released on Feb. 20."

Ernst also called out MS14-013, the second critical bulletin this month. He reports this vulnerability could allow a remote code execution in DirectShow for all supported versions of Windows. However, the good news is that the attack method requires a user to click on a specially crafted JPEG file in IE -- and there are no known active attacks.

"The final bulletin for this Patch Tuesday is MS14-016," Ernst told us. "It covers one CVE [common vulnerability and exposure] for a vulnerability in Security Account Manager Remote Protocol that could allow a security feature bypass. In this instance, an attacker could lock...

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