Happy December! In this last Patch Tuesday installment for 2016, Microsoft released 12 security bulletins which brings the 2016 yearly count to 155. This is about 15% higher than last year. Out of more than 3 billion scans that Qualys performs each year we saw an increase of about 20% in the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities. This increase can be attributed to an increase in the volume of scanning and to the 15% increase in number of Microsoft bulletins. But the year is not over and I will come up with the normalized number after the year ends.
Most organizations enforce system configuration policies to reduce the chance of misconfiguration and improve their overall security posture. For Microsoft Windows systems, many organizations rely on guidance from Microsoft Security Compliance Manager (SCM) for proper configuration. For organizations deploying Windows 10, this Top 5 list helps you understand and implement the new settings introduced in SCM for Windows 10.
As an engineer on the Qualys Policy Compliance product team, I routinely compare compliance benchmarks, and have compiled this list based on my work. If you are already familiar with previous version of Windows, this blog post can help you to quickly adopt the new changes.
Controls (represented by Control IDs or CIDs) are the building blocks of the policies in Qualys Policy Compliance used to measure and report compliance for a set of hosts. For each of the Top 5 in this article, we include the CID that allows you to build policies to measure and report compliance for that new setting.
It’s September 2016 Patch Tuesday, and Microsoft has released 14 security bulletins that affect a host of components including desktop operating systems, servers, browsers , Exchange server, Silverlight, SMBv1 and several others. It’s a large update that will keep desktop as well as server administrators busy. Seven updates are rated as critical, while the other seven are rated as important. One 0-day vulnerability CVE-2016-3352 which was publicly disclosed earlier is also patched in the MS16-110 bulletin.
Its July 2016 patch Tuesday and Microsoft has released 11 security updates that affect a host of desktop and server systems. Six updates are categorized as Critical while the rest are categorized as Important.
Most of the critical updates released today affect desktop systems. Top priority should be given to fixing browsers and Office which includes MS16-084 that affects Internet Explorer, MS16-085 which affects Microsoft Edge and MS16-088 for Office. All three updates fix vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to take complete control of the victim’s machine and therefore these should be patched immediately.
There we are: the last Patch Tuesday of 2015. It turns out to be about average, with maybe a bit more severity in the bulletins than usually. We have eight critical bulletins in the total 12, including one that fixes a 0-day vulnerability, currently in use by attackers to escalate privileges in Windows. 0-days used to be very rare occasions, but this year they have become almost mainstream. After all the year started off with a string of 0-days in Adobe Flash and since then we have seen almost every month a patch for a vulnerability that is already under attack. Definitely a sign of the increasing technical capabilities that attackers are wielding and a reminder that IT Managers should not only patch their systems promptly, but also look for additional robustness. Your list of things to look at in 2016 should include investigation of minimal software installs with the least features enabled, plus an additional piece software such as EMET that enhances robustness.
And we are back to normal for Patch Tuesday November 2015. Twelve bulletins that cover a wide mix of products from Internet Explorer (MS15-112) to Skype (MS15-123). Last month’s lower number of six bulletins was an anomaly caused by, maybe, the summer vacation? What is not an anomaly but the product of serious security engineering is the pronounced difference between Internet Explorer and Edge patches.
Patch Tuesday October 2015 turns out to be a light edition. There are only six bulletins, but all of the important products are covered. We have a critical bulletin for Internet Explorer (but not for Edge), a bulletin for Office that has Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities, plus Windows Kernel vulnerabilities that allow for Privilege escalation. Plus an interesting issue in Windows shell that allows for RCE as well. Pretty much everybody, meaning all versions of Windows and Office, are affected except this month there are none of the additional software packages with updates (.NET, server software, etc).