Security Advisor

Patch Tuesday Is Still Alive: 2 'Critical' Bulletins Released for June

Plus, Microsoft turns on HTTP Strict Transport Security for Internet Explorer 11.

While Microsoft has announced that its monthly security update days are numbered, the date has yet to be determined. With the launch of Windows 10 at the end of next month, my money's on July being the last traditional Patch Tuesday we may see, but don't hold me to it.

That being said, Microsoft has released a somewhat-tame security update for the month, with two bulletin items for Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player labeled as "critical" and six "important"

This month's hot-ticket item is bulletin MS15-056, a cumulative security update for all supported versions of Microsoft's IE browser. According to the company, while the number of flaws addressed in this month's item is not disclosed, the most severe could lead to a remote code execution (RCE) attack. However, while it the RCE flaw could cause the biggest headache, it's not the easiest of the issues to exploit, according to Craig Young, security advisor at Tripwire.

"CVE-2015-1765, which is addressed in the standard IE cumulative update, seems to be a flaw allowing malicious web content to access a user's browsing history," said Young. "Although an attacker could almost certainly read the browsing history after exploiting any of the other dozens of vulnerabilities plugged this month, it seems likely to me that the information disclosure is going to be more easily exploited than any memory corruption bug."

The second critical item of the month (MS15-057) is a fix for one flaw in Microsoft's Windows Media Player for Windows Server 2003, Server 2008/2008 R2, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The bulletin squashes another RCE issue that could be exploited if a user opened a malicious media file. Microsoft designated this as critical due to the potential for users to be hit with phishing attacks that exploit the flaw. Plan to get this applied as soon as possible.

The remaining six important fixes all address vulnerabilities in Office, Windows and Microsoft Exchange Server, and should be applied on an as-needed basis. Those wanting to focus on the top priority of the important batch should look into MS15-060, an RCE fix for all supported versions of Windows Server and OS. While exploits targeting the flaw have yet to be seen in the wild, it has been publicly disclosed, so expect active attacks to show up shortly.

IE 11 Gets Strict Transport Security
Microsoft sent along word with its monthly patch that HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), which was previously available in preview form for IE 11 in the Windows 10 preview, is now available for Windows 7 and 8.1 (along with being available out of preview for Windows 10 and available for Windows 10's Edge browser). According to Microsoft, "Site developers can use HSTS policies to secure connections by opting in to an HSTS preload list, which registers websites to be hardcoded by Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and other browsers to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS. Communications with these websites from the initial connection are automatically upgraded to be secure."

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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