After a very light Patch Tuesday last month, Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday for October 2012 is again not very substantial. Although there are seven bulletins, only the first one, for Microsoft Office, is rated critical. This is not very common for Office vulnerabilities and typically indicates that no user interaction, such as opening an affected file, is required to trigger the vulnerability. The bulletin applies to all versions of Office on Windows from 2003 to 2010 and should be applied as quickly as possible. Office for Macs is not affected.
The remaining six bulletins are all rated important. Three of them affect components of the Office family but will only affect a subset of all organizations, as they are probably not very often installed. Bulletin 2 brings a patch for a Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Works 9, Bulletin 3 addresses Infopath and Sharepoint, and Bulletin 4 is an update to Fast Search for Sharepoint. Bulletin 5 and 6 are both local Elevation of Privilege vulnerabilities for Windows that can be used to gain administrative privileges but would require an attacker to be already present on the machine. Lastly, Bulletin 7 is an update for all versions of MS-SQL Server and similarly addresses a local Escalation of Privilege vulnerability.
We recommend being alert for the first Bulletin and preparing for a fast roll-out of that update. Of the six remaining bulletins many organization will be free of the software that they address. The vulnerabilities in Windows are not as critical, they are local and should be addressed within the organization’s normal patch cycle.