Microsoft Announces Tuesday Patches

by CXOtoday Staff    Jul 13, 2006

In monthly Tuesday security updates, Microsoft has released patches for 18 security vulnerabilities in its Windows, Office and Excel software.

Consisting of seven security updates, four - MS06-033, MS06-034, MS06-035, and MS06-036 address Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities while three MS06-037, MS06-038 and MS06-039 address Microsoft Office.

The five critical bulletins - MS06-35 to 39 offer fixes for two windows and three office vulnerabilities that could allow remote code execution. The most critical Windows flaw contained in bulletin MS06-035 is a security hole called ‘mailslot’ - a temporary data storage mechanism, used to facilitate unidirectional data transfer that could be used to hijack a PC.

Though the flaw affects Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, systems running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 are at a lesser risk as the operating systems do not have services listening on mailslots by default.

Of the three Office related bulletins, bulletin MS06-037 offers a fix for eight Excel spreadsheet related flaws. It includes patches for two so-called zero-day vulnerabilities. In all, 13 Office-related vulnerabilities have been identified and addressed, which could be exploited by creating a malicious Office document and controlling the system when the document was opened. Office 2000 users are especially susceptible since the version does not display an extra warning if documents were opened from Outlook.

A remote code execution vulnerability in the way Windows handles Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), used to administer network addresses is tackled in bulletin MS06-036. Bulletin MS06-038 addresses all Office applications in 2000, XP, and 2003 editions while MS06-039 deals with flaws in Office that may let .gif and .png images be used to execute remote code.

Two bulletins labeled ‘important’ address vulnerabilities which affect Web servers running Windows software, are also released. MS06-034 addresses a flaw where an attacker can upload a malformed ASP file to take over the server, while MS06-033 allows the attacker to view contents of the applications folder on a Web server.