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Microsoft releases 14 patches for Windows

bug-162019

Microsoft released patches for 14 vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system, Office and Internet Explorer software on Tuesday, including four it deemed critical, it’s highest severity rating.

All four of the critical bugs could allow attackers to remotely execute programs on a targeted system, something that in the past has allowed hackers to steal personal information such as passwords or take over machines for the purpose of sending spam.

The patches were released as part of the company’s monthly “patch Tuesdaysecurity update for its major software products. The company had originally planned to deliver 16 updates Tuesday, but two are marked as yet to appear. They include one that was expected to carry a critical rating.

At 14, the number of patches is a monthly record for 2013 and 2014.

They include a problem with Windows Object Linking and Embedding that could allow remote code execution if the user visits a website containing malicious code. If the user is logged in as the administrator, the attacker could gain the ability to install programs and change and delete data. A related patch for Internet Explorer fixes the vulnerability with malicious websites and 16 other problems with the software, said Microsoft.

A security update for the Microsoft Secure Channel software in Windows fixes a problem that leaves Windows Server vulnerable to attack from specially crafted packets. The fourth critical patch fixes a hole in Windows that allows attackers to invoke Microsoft XML Core Services from a malicious website and then remotely execute code on a target system.

A further seven patches are marked as important—the second highest rank.

One vulnerability in Microsoft Office allows for remote execution of code, four additional problems allow attackers to assign themselves higher privileges and two allow bypass of certain security features in Windows.

via Microsoft releases 14 patches for Windows security problems | PCWorld.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday tackles three critical vulnerabilities, including ‘Sandworm’ | PCWorld

After a relatively quiet few months, Microsoft Patch Tuesday is back in full force, covering three zero-day vulnerabilities that administrators should attend to as quickly as possible.

Microsoft issued eight security bulletins Tuesday, covering a total of 24 vulnerabilities found in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and the .Net framework. Three of the bulletins are marked as critical, which means administrators should test and apply these patches immediately. A single bulletin can cover multiple vulnerabilities within one technology.

Three of these vulnerabilities are already being exploited by malicious attackers, hence they are being called zero-day vulnerabilities. This is the first time in recent history—and perhaps ever—that Microsoft has fixed three zero-day vulnerabilities in a single round of patches, which Microsoft typically issues on the second Tuesday of each month.

“Sandworm” is the most notorious of the three and is a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that has already been used in attacks on NATO and a number of European government agencies, telecommunication firms and energy companies, according to cyberthreat intelligence firm iSight. Microsoft Bulletin MS14-060 fixes this bug.

“This is an urgent one to fix,” said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer for IT security firm Qualys.

Microsoft marked MS14-060 as important rather than critical because for the attack to work, it would require a user to click on a file. Qualys ranks this vulnerability as more severe in that it is pretty easy to trick a single person into clicking on a file, such as a PowerPoint presentation, which would be all that would be required for an attacker to gain access to an internal network with a well-crafted script, Kandek said.

Sandworm is a good reminder for administrators to make sure that they set the user permissions correctly on desktop and laptop computers, meaning not to give an end user full administrative privileges on the machine, Kandek said.

Internet Explorer gets patched, too

The second zero-day flaw addresses a problem in Internet Explorer and the fix is found in MS14-056. This vulnerability “could allow an attacker to break out of the sandboxing capabilities in Internet Explorer,” said Amol Sarwate, director of vulnerability research at Qualys.

The third zero-day, addressed in MS14-058, also comes from a flaw within Windows, namely from the way the operating system kernel drivers handle TrueType fonts. An attacker could embed some malicious code within a TrueType font. When a user visits a site with these ill fonts, Windows will download the font package and automatically execute the code buried within.

Beyond Microsoft’s patches, administrators will also have a busy week with patches from Adobe and Oracle, Kandek said.

On Tuesday, Adobe released a set of patches for its Flash multimedia player. Oracle is also releasing a wide range of patches for its enterprise software. In particular, administrators should take a look at the Java patches, Kandek advised.

via Microsoft Patch Tuesday tackles three critical vulnerabilities, including ‘Sandworm’ | PCWorld.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Is An Impressive Hunk Of Hardware-But Windows Still Needs Work | Fast Company

Thinking about a new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 instead of your next laptop? Then this review from FastCompany is a must read.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Is An Impressive Hunk Of Hardware–But Windows Still Needs Work | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 Is An Impressive Hunk Of Hardware--But Windows Still Needs Work | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Dialog boxes may be killing Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault

Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault | PCWorld

 

If you’ve noticed Internet Explorer running slowly lately—or just halting altogether—here’s one possible cause: dialog boxes.

On Friday, the same day that Microsoft recommended users download the latest updates for Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft issued a hotfix for Internet Explorer. According to asupport article issued Friday, “web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time.”

Microsoft issued the hotfix for Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11—basically every major version.

For more information about how Dialog boxes may be killing Internet Explorer, follow the source link below to check out the PC World article to find out how to fix the problem.

via Internet Explorer running slow? Dialog boxes could be at fault | PCWorld.

Looking Ahead To Windows 10 | TechCrunch

A preview of Windows 10 will be made available in either September or October, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. That timeline keeps ‘Threshold’ — Windows 10’s codename — out into the public market as a finished product likely in early 2015.

The Windows 8 era isn’t merely closing, it’s racing to an end.

via Looking Ahead To Windows 10 | TechCrunch.

Microsoft pulls update after crashes

Microsoft pulls update

People often ask me why I recommend disabling Automatic updates in Windows. Well here’s one reason…

Apparently this update has been causing crashes and slowdowns. So if you have automatic updates turned on and your PC just recently started acting unbecomingly, this might be the problem.

“Microsoft said that it had discovered three issues with the updates associated with its August updates last week (specifically updates 298279129702282975719, and 297533), otherwise known as the security and feature updates that began rolling out on August 2.”

“Microsoft recommends that customers uninstall this update. As an added precaution, Microsoft has removed the download links to the 2982791 security update.”

Not quite as easy as it might seem. It seems you need to tinker with the registry, which can completely brick your PC if you don’t know what you’re doing.

As a humorous side note, if you are still running Windows XP, you don’t have to worry at all!

Microsoft pulls August Windows update after crashes | PCWorld.

Mirror any Android screen on your PC

We’ve been playing around with Google’s Chromecast a little bit, and the first take has been excellent. You can use it to play all kinds of content: YouTube videos, Netflix and any other Chromecast enabled app, as well as sending “casting” the entire screen to any TV with an HDMI port. Very, cool stuff really. Screencasting is especially cool because it allows the full Android experience on your TV…your Android device basically becomes the remote control touchpad for a 42″ Android Display.  Like I said: Very, VERY cool.

We just found out about AllCast, and haven’t had a chance to test it yet. But at this point it seems to have many of the same capabilities as Chromecast…but instead of going to your TV, you mirror to your PC.  Casting your Android screen to your PC seems like it would be pretty cool…maybe even more cool than going to a TV, so I can’t wait to give it a test.

But don’t wait for me to get around to doing a full review (and I’m not suggesting that I ever will)…that could take way too much time. And by ‘time’ I mean…well just think of time from glacial perspective. But if you have an Android phone you can give it a try yourself…today!

Check out the Engadget article for more info, and if you have a late model Android phone, head over to the Google Play Store, grab the free app, and start casting!

Engadget: AllCast will let you mirror any Android phone’s screen on your PC.

Related articles across the web

 

Add Disk Space – Drop in a new drive

Add Disk Space – Drop in a new drive – Tips and Tricks

Your C:\ drive is at 93% capacity. Your two year old PC is crawling, growing slower each day with each new silly-kitty-cat-meme or stupid-human-reality viral video is added to the cache.  It seems to almost groan under the load, fans whirring, hard drive grinding, trying to shuffle files around to make enough space for Windows to run.

Click. Wait….for…it..still waiting… waiting. You start to wonder, is it time for a new PC already? Or maybe all you need is a new hard drive to add some space?  But that would mean…going inside your PC. *cue scary music*

Opening your computer can seem like a daunting thing. All those wires and fans and blinking lights…you’re bound to screw SOMETHING up if you start poking around in there, right?

Well, rip back the veil and take a peek…these days it’s not really all that hard and there’s not too much to be afraid of. You can add a TB or two and then clear out your C:\ drive. An overnight deep defrag after the whole schabang will make a big difference too, especially if you move a bunch of data from the system drive.

One last point: When choosing a drive, don’t skimp. If you think you’ll never need more than 1 TB, get a 1.5 TB (or bigger) drive. Data grows exponentially. Last but not least, choose a  high performance SATA 6.0 Gb/s drive that is 7200 RPM and has a 32 MB (64MB even better) cache or larger. These days, the hard drive is the slowest component in a PC, and optimizing your hard disk can make a big difference in your user experience…especially as time goes on and your disk fills up!

▶ How to install a new hard drive in your desktop PC.

The Above ‘How To’ Article Courtesy of
Marco Chiappetta
 at PC World
@MarcoChiappetta

 

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