Microsoft Delivers a Pile of Security Updates – Patch Day Nov. 2014

Microsoft’s monthly Patch Day went live on Tuesday, delivering a substantial pile of security updates to Microsoft administrators. As mentioned in last week’s video, we expected 16 security bulletins. However, Microsoft held back two for unspecified reasons. Even without those missing bulletins, this is a pretty big Patch Day. If you manage Microsoft networks, you’ll want to apply these updates as soon as you can. I’ll summarize some Patch Day highlights below, but you should visit Microsoft’s November Patch Day Summary page for more details

By the Numbers:

On Tuesday, Microsoft released 14 security bulletins, fixing a total of 33 security vulnerabilities in many of their products. The affected products include:

  • all current versions of Windows,
  • Internet Explorer (IE),
  • Office,
  • the .NET Framework,
  • and SharePoint Server.

They rate four bulletins as Critical, eight as Important, and two as Moderate.

Patch Day Highlights:

You should definitely patch the critical flaws first. The OLE, IE, SChannel, and XML vulnerabilities are all pretty serious; you should install the updates immediately if you can. The overall theme here seems to be web-based threats. Though many of these vulnerabilities affect components you may not relate to web browsing, attackers can leverage many of them by enticing you to a web page hosting malicious code. Drive-by downloads have become one of the primary ways attackers silently deliver malware to your endusers, so you should patch any flaws that help support drive-by downloads as quickly as you can. Also note, the OLE update poses a particularly high risk as attackers have already been exploiting it in the wild (related to SandWorm). The SChannel vulnerability, which some are calling “WinShock,” is also pretty concerning, and might expose any Microsoft servers you expose to the internet (primarily web and email servers). Patch the OLE and SChannel flaws first, and follow quickly with the IE one.

As an aside, Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is a package that makes it much harder for bad guys to exploit memory-based vulnerabilities. Microsoft released a new version (5.1) of EMET in Monday. If you don’t use EMET yet, consider it; and if you do, update.

Quick Bulletin Summary:

We summarize November’s security bulletins below in order of severity. We recommend you apply the updates in the same order of priority, assuming you use the affected products.

  • MS14-064 – Critical – Windows OLE Remote Code Execution Flaw – Windows’ Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) suffers from two flaws that attackers could exploit to execute code on user’s computers, if those user’s interact with malicious documents, or visit websites containing embedded malicious documents. Attackers have been exploiting these zero day flaws in the wild.
  • MS14-066 – Critical – Schannel Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – Secure Channel (Schannel), a security package that ships with Windows, suffers from a remote code execution flaw that attackers can exploit simply by sending specially crafted packets to your computer.
  • MS14-065 – Critical – Cumulative Internet Explorer update fixes 17 vulnerabilities – This update fixes remote code execution (RCE), elevation of privilege (EoP), information disclosure, and security bypass vulnerabilities. The RCE flaws pose the most risk as attackers often leverage them in drive-by download attacks, where simply visiting the wrong website could result in malware silently downloading and installing on your computer.
  • MS14-067 – Critical – XML Core Service Remote Code Execution Flaw – If attackers can entice you to a malicious website, or to a booby-trapped legitimate website, they can exploit this Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML) vulnerability to silently install malware on your computer.
  • MS14-069 – Important – Pair of Office Code Execution Flaws – Office, specifically Word, suffers from a pair of code execution vulnerabilities attackers could exploit by getting you to interact with malicious documents.
  • MS14-070 – Important – Windows TCP/IP Elevation of Privilege Flaw – The Windows TCP/IP stack suffers from an EoP vulnerability. Despite the fact the flaw affects a network component, attackers can only exploit it locally by running a malicious program, which significantly lessens its severity.
  • MS14-071 – Important – Windows Audio Service Elevation of Privilege Flaw – This flaw has the same scope and impact as the local EoP flaw above, only it affects Windows’ Audio Service.
  • MS14-072 – Important – .NET Framework Elevation of Privilege Flaw – The .NET Remoting functionality of the .NET Framework suffers from a remote EoP vulnerability. By sending specially crafted data to a server that uses the .NET Remoting feature, and attacker could gain full control of that server. The good news is, according to Microsoft, .NET Remoting is not widely used.
  • MS14-073 – Important – SharePoint Foundation Elevation of Privilege Flaw – Though Microsoft doesn’t describe it this way, this vulnerability sounds like a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw. If an attacker can lure you to a website with malicious code, or get you to click a link, he do things on your SharePoint server as though he were you.
  • MS14-076 – Important – IIS Security Bypass – Microsoft’s web server, IIS, has a feature that allows administrators to restrict access to web resources by IP address. Unfortunately, it suffers a flaw that attackers can leverage to bypass this access restriction. The flaw only affects you if you use this feature.
  • MS14-074 – Important – Remote Desktop Protocol Security Bypass – In short, the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) doesn’t properly log failed login attempts, meaning you may not notice when attackers repeatedly guess passwords.
  • MS14-077 – Important – ADFS Information Disclosure Flaw – Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) doesn’t fully log off users. If a new users logs on, she might have access to application info from the previous user.
  • MS14-078 – Moderate – Japanese IME Elevation of Privilege Flaw – If you use a Windows system that supports Japanese character input, and an attacker can get you to open a malicious file, the attacker can run code with your privileges. This flaw only affects systems with the Japanese character support install, but it has been exploited in the wild in limited attacks.
  • MS14-079 – Moderate – Kernel-mode Drive DoS flaw – The Kernel-mode driver suffers from a Denial of Server (DoS) having to do with how it handles Truetype fonts. If an attacker can get you to view a malicious font, perhaps by getting you to visit a website, he can exploit this to cause your system to crash or stop responding.

Solution Path:

If you use any of the software mentioned above, you should apply the corresponding updates as soon as you can. I recommend you apply the Critical updates immediately, try to get to the Important ones as a soon as possible, and leave the moderate ones for last.

You can get the updates three ways:

  1. Let Windows Automatic Update do it for you – While patches sometimes introduce new problems, these occasional issues don’t seem to affect clients as often as they do servers. To keep your network secure, I recommend you set Windows clients to update automatically so they get patches as soon as possible.
  2. Manually download and install patches – That said, most businesses strongly rely on production servers and server software. For that reason, I recommend you always test new server updates before applying them manually to production servers. Virtualization can help you build a test environment that mimics your production one for testing.  You can find links to download the various updates in the individual bulletins I’ve linked above.
  3. Download November’s full Security Update ISO –  Finally, Microsoft eventually posts an ISO image that consolidates all the security updates. This ISO conveniently packages the updates in one place for administrators. You’ll eventually find a link to the monthly security ISOs here, but Microsoft may not post it until a few days after Patch Day

For WatchGuard Customers:

Good News! WatchGuard’s Gateway Antivirus (GAV), Intrusion Prevention (IPS), and APT Blocker services can often prevent these sorts of attacks, or the malware they try to distribute. For instance, our IPS signature team has developed signatures that can detect and block many of the attacks described in Microsoft’s alerts:

  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6353)
  • EXPLOIT Windows OLE Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6352)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6351)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6348)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6347)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Cross-domain Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6346)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Cross-domain Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6345)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6342)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6341)
  • WEB-ACTIVEX Microsoft Internet Explorer Cross-domain Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6340)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer ASLR Bypass Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6339)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6337)
  • WEB Exchange URL Redirection Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6336)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2014-4143)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Internet Explorer Clipboard Information Disclosure Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6323)
  • WEB-CLIENT Microsoft Windows OLE Automation Array Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6332)
  • FILE Microsoft Office Double Delete Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6333)
  • FILE Microsoft Office Bad Index Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6334)
  • FILE Microsoft Office Invalid Pointer Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-6335)

Your Firebox or XTM appliance should get this new IPS signature update shortly.

Furthermore, our Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) and WebBlocker services can often prevent your users from accidentally visiting malicious (or legitimate but booby-trapped) web sites that contain these sorts of attacks. Nonetheless, we still recommend you install Microsoft’s updates to completely protect yourself from all of these flaws. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)


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The original article/video can be found at Microsoft Delivers a Pile of Security Updates – Patch Day Nov. 2014

About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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