December 2012 Patch Tuesday Overview

For December 2012 Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has released seven new security bulletins addressing 12 vulnerabilities.  This month’s Patch Tuesday is affects every Microsoft operating system and every supported version of Microsoft Internet Explorer.  All machines on an administrator’s network will need to be patched this month.

There are two security bulletins that will need to be addressed right away.  First, Microsoft security bulletin MS12-077 addresses three vulnerabilities in all supported versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Navigating to a malicious website in an unpatched browser can result in Remote Code Execution.  With any Internet browser, it is important to patch immediately as browsers are one of the most targeted software programs by attackers.

The second bulletin administrators should look at patching right away is MS12-079.  This security bulletin addresses one vulnerability in Microsoft Word.  Opening a malicious RTF document can result in Remote Code Execution.  By default, Microsoft Outlook 2007 uses Word 2007 as the default email reader.  Organizations that use Microsoft Outlook 2007 will want to raise the priority of patching this bulletin as simply previewing a malicious document can exploit the vulnerability.

Back in October 2012, Microsoft released Security Advisory 2749655.  Microsoft identified an issue where patch packages and patch files were incorrectly signed.  With the digital certificate issue, Microsoft has been identifying these patches and re-releasing them with a correctly signed digital signature.  Today, Microsoft is re-releasing four bulletins with new patches.

MS12-043
MS12-057
MS12-059
MS12-060

This brings the Microsoft security bulletins up to 11 this month.  These re-released patches are not as critical to deploy to the network as the original seven December 2012 Patch Tuesday patches.  If you have already deployed these re-released patches when they were released, administrators are protected from the vulnerabilities.  Although, administrators will want to ensure they have patched the 10 re-released patches before early 2013.

On the non-Microsoft front, there are a few vendors releasing updates for their products.  Adobe has released two security bulletins.  Adobe security bulletin APSB12-026 addresses one vulnerability in Adobe ColdFusion and is rated as Important.  Adobe security bulletin APSB12-027 addresses three vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player 10/11 and Adobe Air 3.  Adobe has rated the security bulletin for Flash Player and Air as Critical.

With every Adobe Flash Player security update, Google and Microsoft are also involved with the security patch release.  Google has updated their Chrome browser with version 23.0.1271.97.  This new version includes the Adobe Flash Player security update as well as addressing six vulnerabilities in Google Chrome.  Microsoft updated their Security Advisory (2755801) to include the latest version of Adobe Flash Player for Microsoft Internet Explorer 10.  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 / Server 2012 embeds Adobe Flash Player in the browser as well.

The last vendor providing updates to their software so far on this Patch Tuesday is Apache.  Apache has released Apache Tomcat for Windows version 7.0.34.  This update is a non-security update.

The 2012 Patch Tuesday releases are not going out with a whimper the year.  With the seven new Microsoft security bulletins, the four Microsoft security bulletin re-releases and the Adobe Flash Player security update, administrators will have a significant amount of patching to complete before they can start focusing  on the holidays.

I will be going over the December Patch Tuesday patches in detail in addition to any other non-Microsoft releases since the last Patch Tuesday in our monthly Patch Tuesday webcast.   This webcast is scheduled for next Wednesday, December 12th at 11:00 a.m. CT.  You can register for this webcast here.

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