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One Fix Expected for Patch Tuesday

Microsoft's first security update rollout of 2009 may be a quiet one, according to an advance notification released Thursday.

Microsoft's first security update rollout of 2009 may be a quiet one, according to an advance notification released Thursday. January's Patch Tuesday will consist of just one "critical" patch.

The light release follows a December patch cycle that covered the most vulnerabilities in the history of Patch Tuesday, as well as included an out-of-cycle patch for Internet Explorer.

This latest bulletin addresses remote code execution and will cover Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Its severity has been deemed merely "moderate" for Vista and Windows Server 2008.

With a few known flaws left to be fixed from the end of 2008 -- one in WordPad Text Converter and another in the SQL Server database software, for instance -- there is a bit of speculation over which Windows component the upcoming patch will fix. Andrew Storms, director of security operations for independent security vendor nCircle, thinks Microsoft will fix a "known" Windows flaw rather than a zero-day bug.

"There are several exploits that have already been published, even some that may have been floating around for months on end," Storms said. "But we know the flaw is definitely something that allows hackers to gain unauthorized privileges through a workstation. We may even discover that what they fix is something more severe than previously thought."

According to the advance notification, Tuesday's patch will require a restart. Additionally, Redmond said it will issue one or more non-security (but high-priority) updates on Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services and Microsoft Update, as well as an upgraded version of its Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. For more on these additional bells and whistles for Windows, Microsoft encouraged users to consult this Knowledge Base article.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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