Microsoft releases monthly security patches

Microsoft has released software updates for versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and warned customers about a security vulnerability in a Windows component called IDirectPlay4, which is used to support multiplayer network games.

The security hole, if successfully exploited, could allow a remote attacker to cause a Windows application using the affected component to fail, creating a denial of service attack.

Microsoft published a bulletin describing the hole, MS04-016, and rated the problem "moderate". This indicated that the hole was difficult to exploit or could be fixed by changing configuration settings or other factors.

IDirectPlay4 is one of three application programming interfaces (APIs) that make up Microsoft DirectPlay, a protocol that provides networking services for networks based on Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX). DirectPlay is frequently used to support multiplayer games.

A remote attacker could trigger the security vulnerability by connecting to a machine using DirectPlay and sending a specially misformatted data packet to the machine. When received, that packet would cause the application using DirectPlay to crash, Microsoft said.

The company provided patches for both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and said customers should consider applying the updates.

It also patched three of its products to plug a newly-discovered hole in the Crystal Reports and Crystal Enterprise reporting tools from Business Objects SA. Software updates were released for Visual Studio .NET and Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager, which redistribute Crystal Reports.

A patch was also issued for Microsoft Business Solutions CRM 1.2, which redistributes Crystal Enterprise and was also affected, Microsoft said.

The hole, if successfully exploited, could allow a remote attacker to use a Web interface to Crystal Reports and Crystal Enterprise to retrieve or delete files on affected systems, Microsoft said.

Microsoft published a bulletin concerning the hole, MS04-017, which rated the vulnerability "moderate". Customers should consider applying the patch, the company said.

It released the patches in keeping with its stated policy of trying to limit security updates to one day, typically the second Tuesday of each month.

After releasing more than 20 patches for security holes in April, many of them related to critical holes in versions of Windows and the Internet Explorer Web browser, the company has had two quiet months. The company issued one bulletin in April for a single, non-critical vulnerability.

Join the 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.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?