IE, Outlook, Word get critical bug fixes

Microsoft has released four critical and two important security updates for its products.

Microsoft has released six security updates for its products, fixing critical flaws in Word, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer (IE) and the Kodak image viewer that ships with Windows.

The updates, released Tuesday, fix nine bugs in Microsoft's products. In addition to the four critical updates, Microsoft also released "important" fixes for the Windows SharePoint collaboration software and in the Windows remote procedure call (RPC) technology.

Nine updates is one less than originally expected. Last Thursday, Microsoft said it was planning to fix an unnamed flaw in Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 that could be used for "spoofing." That update was not included in Tuesday's patches.

Microsoft pulled this Windows patch because of a "quality control issue," the company said in a statement. It's not unheard of for Microsoft to make such last-minute decisions. The SharePoint update that was released Tuesday had previously been pulled from the September updates for similar reasons.

Though the Windows RPC flaw apparently cannot be exploited to run unauthorized software on a victim's machine, security experts consider it one of the most important patches released Tuesday. RPC service has been the source of many virulent computer worms in the past, including 2003's Blaster, according to Amol Sarwate, manager of Qualys Inc.'s vulnerability research lab.

"Whenever there is a denial of service there is always a chance of remote code execution," he said. However, even if hackers could find a way to use this bug to run unauthorized software on a PC, RPC is typically blocked at the firewall. This means that even if a worm could be crafted, it would have difficulty spreading.

Sarwate said that the IE patch, which fixes four bugs in the browser, should be moved to the front of the line by system administrators. That's because IE is so widely used and some of the bugs in the browser are very likely to be used in online attacks.

The IE patch is the most critical, agreed Andrew Storms, director of security operations with nCircle Network Security Inc. According to him, an address spoofing flaw that was patched in this update has been known publicly for three months. "The URL spoof has been known since at least July and it's the perfect tool for a phisher," he said via instant message.

As for what Storms would patch after installing the IE update? "Second on my list is pretty much a tie between everything else minus the SharePoint vulnerability," he wrote.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?