Qualys Blog

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167 posts

Adobe Fixes Half a Dozen Flash Vulnerabilities and More

Flash has been the top target for exploit kits and we have observed that defender behavior, i.e. how fast patches are applied along with other factors in the threat landscape could have led to a decline in the number of Flash vulnerabilities being weaponized in exploit kits.  In 2016, the time to patch 80% of Flash vulnerabilities reduced by more than half to 62 days as compared to the previous year when it was 144 days. This data is based on more than 3 billion scans performed by Qualys and could be one of the contributing factors why Flash-based attack integration in exploit kits is declining. If organizations patch quickly it gives less time for exploit kits to integrate the exploits and the chances of phishing vulnerable users reduce greatly if more machines are patched quickly.

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Microsoft Fixes Malware Protection Engine and Several 0-Day Vulnerabilities, and Deprecates SHA-1

Hours before today’s Patch Tuesday release on the eve of May 8, Microsoft released an emergency updated to fix a vulnerability in their Malware Protection Engine. This critical vulnerability allows an attacker to take complete control of the victim’s machine by just sending an e-mail attachment. When the malware protection engine scans the attachment the malicious code in the file gets executed, allowing the attacker complete and full access to the computer. The attack can also be carried out by sending the file via an instant message or having the victim download the file from a website. It is absolutely essential that organizations using Microsoft Malware Protection Engine make sure that they are at version Version 1.1.13704.0 or later. Users should also check if they are patched for CVE-2017-0290, which was released for the same issue today.

In today’s Patch Tuesday update Microsoft released a total of 57 vulnerability fixes. Highest priority should go to patching 0-day issues which are actively exploited.  On top of our list is the Office patch for CVE-2017-0261 which is triggered when a victim opens an Office file containing a malformed graphics image.  The file could be delivered via email or any other means. As this is actively exploited in the wild and attackers can take complete control of the victim system, this should be treated with priority.

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April 2017 Patch Tuesday Video Highlights

Microsoft Fixes 45 Vulnerabilities with new Security Update Guide and says goodbye to Security Bulletins. Adobe Fixes Flash, PDF reader and Photoshop.

Microsoft Fixes 45 Vulnerabilities with new Security Update Guide – says goodbye to Security Bulletins

Today is the first month since 1998 in which Microsoft stopped releasing security bulletins with the familiar MSxx-xxx format and replaced it with the new security update guide. We talked about this change earlier in a few blog posts and finally today it’s time to say good bye to security bulletins which essentially combined related vulnerabilities and products for easy of consumption.

In today’s release Microsoft fixed a total of 45 vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution, denial-of-service, elevation of privileges, security feature bypass and spoofing. Top priority goes to the Office and WordPad CVE-2017-0199 which fixed a 0-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited in the wild. Exploitation of this vulnerability requires that a user open or preview a specially crafted file with an affected version of Office or WordPad. Attacker could accomplish this by sending a specially crafted file to the user and then convincing the user to open the file. We recommend administrators patch this as soon as possible.

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Massive Microsoft Patch Tuesday Security Update for March

Today Microsoft released a massive Patch Tuesday security update consisting of 17 security bulletins that fixed a total of 134 vulnerabilities.  Out of the 17 security bulletins 8 were marked as Critical which could lead to remote code execution while the remaining were marked as Important. Since there were no patches released for February, in one way, a massive update was expected this month. We also liked the fact that Microsoft kept the older way of clubbing KB articles and patches in security bulletins which, in our opinion, is easy to read and provides better overall picture. But the Microsoft blog here, allude that sometime in the future Microsoft will stop publishing security bulletins.

The highest priority overall goes to the Windows GDI bulletin MS17-013 which could allow remote code execution if a user either visits a specially crafted website or opens a specially crafted document. This gets highest priority as CVE-2017-0005 is a zero day issue which is currently being exploited actively in the wild. This issue could be incorporated soon by ExploitKits using Silverlight as the attack vector as we have seen that happen in the past.

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Microsoft February Patch Tuesday Cliffhanger and Adobe Fix for Flash

UPDATE: Microsoft has announced that all updates will be delivered in the March 14 patch cycle.

As covered in our January blog, today Microsoft was supposed to scrap the existing system in which users used to get a bulletin like MS17-001 in favor of a new ‘single destination for security vulnerability information’ called the Security Updates Guide. But as per Microsoft’s blog, February’s Patch Tuesday has been delayed as Microsoft discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and could not resolve it in time for the planned update. This comes on the heels of the announcement that individual patches will not be available as they will be bundled together in the monthly Security update or monthly Cumulative update. If there is a problem in the patch for one kernel vulnerability for example, then all kernel or related vulnerabilities cannot be released as they are bundled together. A zero day SMB vulnerability was expected to be patched today and as of this writing there is no official statement on the new release date.

On the Adobe front, three security updated were released and the most important one is for Flash APSB17-04 which affects Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS. If left un-patched this allows attackers to take complete control of the system. An attacker would host malicious flash content and the vulnerability will trigger when victim views the content.

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Oracle January 2017 CPU Fixes 270 Vulnerabilities

Oracle kicked off the New Year with its first installment of the quarterly CPU (critical patch update) for 2017. The update contains fix for 270 security issues across wide range of products. The graph below shows distribution of the update. More than 100 vulnerabilities that were fixed could be compromised by a remote attacker without requiring any credentials. Most remote vulnerabilities could be exploited over the HTTP protocol.

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January 2017 Patch Tuesday Video Highlights

Adobe started 2017 with release of two security bulletins – one for Flash and the other for Acrobat and Reader. Microsoft released three security updates for Office, Edge and LSASS.

2016 Year-End Summary for Adobe and Another 0-day Fix in December

Adobe released nine security bulletins today in the December Security updates. The most notable update was APSB16-39 for Flash which fixed a 0-day vulnerability with exploits in the wild that is being used in targeted attacks. Adobe products including Flash and Acrobat PDF reader have long being targeted by exploit kits. In addition to the 0-day (CVE-2016-7892), 17 other vulnerabilities were fixed in Flash. This update address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.  Other updates included in today’s release fixed Coldfusion (APSB16-44) , Robohelp (APSB16-46), Adobe Digital Editions (APSB16-45), InDesign (APSB16-43) , Experience Manager (APSB16-42) , DNG Converter (APSB16-41) and Animate (APSB16-38).

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Microsoft Ends 2016 with 15% Increase in Bulletin Volume

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.

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