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Wednesday, 11 January 2012 09:39

Microsoft kicks off 2012 with seven security bulletins


The first Patch Tuesday for 2012 brings seven bulletins from Microsoft. One was held over from December, and only one of the seven is regarded as being critical.

As foreshadowed, Microsoft's first Patch Tuesday for 2012 brings seven bulletins - one critical and six important.

The most pressing vulnerabilities are in Windows Media, and can be exploited by maliciously crafted media files. The critical issue affects all currently supported versions of Windows except Windows 7. A flaw allows DirectShow's MIDI parser to be misused to allow remote code execution.

The other vulnerability covered by that bulletin exploits DirectShow's closed caption decoder. Microsoft officials noted that closed captions are disabled by default in Windows Media Player 12.

This month's bulletins include a fix for an SSL issue that was planned for release in December 2011 but was held over to allow investigation of compatibility issues with certain non-Microsoft products.

Most of Microsoft's security bulletins cover issues that fall into the categories of remote code execution, elevation of privilege, or information disclosure. This month there's one described as a security feature bypass.



A vulnerability in the Windows Kernel could allow an attacker to bypass the SafeSEH security feature and then exploit other vulnerabilities in ways that would otherwise be blocked by SafeSEH.

Other vulnerabilities in Windows that were fixed this month concern the Windows Object Packager, the Windows Client/Server Run-time Subsystem. There's also a fix for a remote code execution vulnerability that can be exploited by embedding a malicious ClickOnce (a Microsoft installation technology) application in an Office document.

The final bulletin for January addresses a vulnerability in the Anti-Cross-Site Scripting Library's sanitisation module that could allow information disclosure.

Also released were an update for the Malicious Software Removal Tool, updates delivering non-security patches for all currently supported versions of Windows, and an update for the Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter.

The updates are available via Microsoft Update or may be downloaded from Microsoft's web site.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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