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).
Hello to Patch Tuesday September 2015: We are ¾ through the year and have broken the 100 bulletin mark with this months 12 additions. We are now projecting over a 145 bulletins until the end of the year, a bit higher than our initial projection from May when said we would be seeing just over 140 bulletins this year.
It is Windows 10 first Patch Tuesday and 40% of the August bulletins for generic Windows apply to the newest version of the operating system: Windows 10. In addition there is an exclusive bulletin for the new browser Microsoft Edge, the leaner and faster replacement for Internet Explorer that addresses three critical vulnerabilities. Windows 10 fares a bit better than WIndows 8, which had 60% in its first two months, where three out of five bulletins were applicable. From a security perspective Windows 10 brings much improvement and we are curious to see how the acceptance of Windows 10 will play out, especially comparing the enterprise side and consumer side. On the Enterprise level we think the Virtual Secure Mode that takes credential hashes out of the Windows kernel the biggest advance, while for the consumer it is the new patching schedule, which basically keeps Windows always updated with the latest updates.
Update4: Adobe has acknowledged in APSA15-04 another 0-day for Flash originating in the data dump from HackingTeam. Security researcher Webdevil documents his finding in a tweet. Adobe credits Dhanesh Kizhakkian from FireEye who documented the PoC found in the datadump and notified Adobe (first?). Adobe expects to address the vulnerability next week (during normal Patch Tuesday maybe?). According to @Kafeine the vulnerability is already in use in the Angler Exploit Kit.
Update3: Adobe has released the patch for the HackingTeam 0-day, CVE-2015-5119. Beyond that vulnerability the update APSB15-16 also addresses 42 other vulnerabilities of which 27 can be used to reach remote code execution. Users of Google Chrome get their Flash update automatically, as are users of IE11 and IE11 from Microsoft. Users of other browsers needs to install patch manually, i.e. for Firefox, Opera and Safari. Install as quickly as possible to neutralize the exploits that are available in the major ExploitKits already.
In addition Adobe has pre-announced a new version of Adobe Reader (APSB15-15) for next Tuesday that will address critical vulnerabilities as well.
Update2: Adobe acknowledged the bug in APSA15-03 and will make an update available on Wednesday, July 8th. Excellent, quick reaction. Google is credited for reporting the bug now called CVE-2015-5119. Security researcher @kafeine reports that the Angler, Fiddler, Nuclear and Neutrino ExploitsKIts have added CVE-2015-5119 to their lineup. Patch as quickly as possible or think about adding EMET to your workstations.
Update: EMET 4.1 (last available version for XP) in its default configuration takes care of the attack on Windows XP. EMET is a good additional security tool to install once you are fully patched. It monitors for certain attack patterns and neutralizes them – if the exploit uses any of the common ways to execute shellcode EMET users have a good chance to get away unharmed.
Update: Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) just blogged about an advanced malware that attacked his company (and a number of others) using a Windows Kernel vulnerability CVE-2015-2360, which Microsoft addressed this month in MS15-061. He calls the malware Duqu 2.0 and affirms that it is backed by a nation state, due to characteristics of the malware’s code. The code bears resemblance to Duqu and incorporates several new features that show that it has received development efforts since the initial version in 2011. There is more information forthcoming – we will update this blog post when that happens. In the meantime make sure you apply MS15-061 to all of your Windows machines.
Original: Patch Tuesday June 2015 – halfway through the year and this month we have eight bulletins bringing the total count for the year to 63. Four of the bulletins address Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities, and one covers a publicly disclosed kernel vulnerability that has not seen any exploits yet. Weirdly enough there is a "hole" in Microsoft’s lineup and one bulletin, MS15-058, is apparently not ready to be released yet.