Tag Archives: Adobe Reader

February 2018 Update Summary

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Update: 28th February 2018:
Please scroll down in this post to view more recent software updates available since the original posting date of the 13th of February 2018. Thank you.
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Earlier today Microsoft made available their expected monthly security updates to resolve 50 vulnerabilities more formally known as CVEs (defined). As always further details are provided within Microsoft’s Security Updates Guide.

At the time of writing there are no Known Issues for this months updates.

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In addition to these updates; Adobe released updates for the following products:

Adobe Experience Manager (resolves 2x priority 3 CVEs)

Adobe Acrobat and Reader (priority 2, 41 CVEs)

Flash Player v28.0.0.161 (priority 1, 2 CVEs) (released on the 6th of February):

As always; you can monitor the availability of security updates for most your software from the following websites (among others) or use Secunia PSI:
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US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):

https://www.us-cert.gov/

A further useful source of update related information is the Calendar of Updates. News/announcements of updates in the categories of General SoftwareSecurity Software and Utilities are available on their website. The news/announcements are very timely and (almost always) contain useful direct download links as well as the changes/improvements made by those updates (where possible).

If you like and use it, please also consider supporting that entirely volunteer run website by donating.

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For this month’s Microsoft updates, I will prioritize the order of installation below. A useful list of all CVEs for this month is present here:

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CVE-2018-0825: StructuredQuery Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

CVE-2018-0850 and CVE-2018-0852 : Microsoft Office Outlook (separately the Office Equation Editor was disabled by this months updates to attempt to prevent further exploitation).

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer (multiple versions of Edge and IE affected)

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Please install the remaining updates at your earliest convenience.

As usual; I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

Similar to last month (due to the availability of further mitigations for x86 (32 bit) version of Windows); please take extra care with your back up to ensure you can restore your systems should you wish to revert your systems prior to installing the Meltdown and Spectre patches should you wish to uninstall the Security only bundle of updates or the updates are causing your system to become unstable or to lower its performance.

Thank you.

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Update: 26th February 2018
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VMware Updates:
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In addition to last month’s VMware updates; further security updates have been issued in February. The affected products/appliances are listed below.

Please review the above linked to security advisories and knowledge base article and apply the necessary updates and mitigation steps.

  • VMware vCloud Usage Meter (UM) 3.x
  • VMware vIdentity Manager (vIDM) 2.x and 3.x
  • VMware vCenter Server (vCSA) 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5
  • VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 6.x
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) 1.x
  • VMware vRealise Automation (vRA) 6.x and 7.x

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Google Chrome:
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This month Google made available 2 updates for Google Chrome; one in early February and the other in mid-February each resolving 1 security issue.

Google Chrome updates automatically and will apply the update the next time Chrome is closed and then re-opened. Chrome can also be updated immediately by clicking the Options button (it looks like 3 stacked small horizontal lines, sometimes called a “hamburger” button) in the upper right corner of the window and choosing “About Google Chrome” from the menu. Follow the prompt to Re-launch Chrome for the updates to take effect.
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VideoLAN VLC:
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On the 28th of February VideoLAN made available VLC version 3.0.1 for Linux, Windows, macOS, BSD, Android, iOS, UWP and Windows Phone. It’s release notes detail fixes for 2 security issues (use-after-free (defined) and stack buffer overflow (defined)) and a further potential security issue (out of bounds (defined) read). More than 30 other non-security issues were also resolved.

Please update to version 3.0.1 to benefit from these improvements.

In early February VideoLAN made available version 3.0 for Linux, Windows, macOS, BSD, Android, iOS, UWP and Windows Phone. While its release notes do not detail any vulnerabilities addressed it includes smashing stack protection (SSP)(defined) and high entropy ASLR (HEASLR, also previously discussed on this blog)(ASLR: defined) for 64 bit versions of VLC. If you use VLC, you may wish to update to this version to benefit from the improved performance and features it offers while also increasing security.

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Skype:
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Earlier this month it was reported (for example here and here) that Skype contained an important elevation of privilege (defined) security vulnerability allowing the use of DLL (defined) hijacking (defined) within its update installer.

This vulnerability required a significant volume of remediation and was not addressed within the existing 7.40 version of Skype. Microsoft subsequently issued version 8 in October to address this vulnerability. 8.16.04 is the most recent version of Skype at the time of writing.

The above referenced version is the desktop version of Skype rather than the Microsoft Store app version which will be offered for Windows 10 installations.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be offered the 8.16.04 desktop version. Updates are available from skype.com Please note; for existing 7.40 users; an automatic update prompt will not display alerting you to the presence of version 8.

If you Skype, please upgrade it to the most recent version to resolve this vulnerability.

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Wireshark 2.4.5 and 2.2.13
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v2.4.5: 9 CVEs (defined) resolved

v2.2.13: 8 CVEs resolved

As per standard process Linux distributions can obtain this update using the operating systems standard package manager (if the latest version is not installed automatically using the package manager you can instead compile the source code (v2.4.5) or v2.2.13). This forum thread and this forum thread may also be helpful to you with installing Wireshark on your Linux based system.

For Mac OS X and Windows, the update is available within the downloads section of the Wireshark website. In addition, a detailed FAQ for Wireshark is available here

November 2017 Security Updates

Back in November; Microsoft released their routine monthly security updates. These updates resolved 53 vulnerabilities with 14 individual updates (which are grouped when downloaded). As always these are detailed within Microsoft’s new Security Updates Guide.

Sorry for not posting this sooner; travelling for my job meant my time was much more limited.

Microsoft have listed 6 Known Issues that can occur from Windows 7 up to and including Windows 10 (version 1703):

Windows 10 (versions 1511, 1607 and 1703 potentially impacted):

KB4048952: caused some Epson SIDM (Dot Matrix) and TM (POS) printers to lose the ability to print. This was later resolved by a further update; KB4053578

KB4048954:

could cause Internet Explorer 11 to not provide users of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) the ability to scroll through drop-down menus.

Windows Pro devices on the Current Branch for Business (CBB) will upgrade unexpectedly.

The above issue regarding Epson printers could also occur. All 3 of the above issues have been resolved. Please see KB4048954 for details of the additional updates containing the appropriate fixes.

KB4048953:

Details 2 of the above issues as well as an additional issue regarding an error message for the CDP User Service. Please see KB4048953 for details of the additional updates containing the appropriate fixes.

Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2:

KB4048958

Please see KB4048958 for details of the additional updates containing the appropriate fixes for the issues already discussed above.

KB4048961

Please see KB4048961 for details of an additional update containing the appropriate fix for an issue already discussed above.

Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard:

KB4048957

Please see KB4048957 for details of the additional updates containing the appropriate fixes for the issues already discussed above.

KB4048960

Please see KB4048960 for details of an additional update containing the appropriate fix for an issue already discussed above.

This month there are 4 Known Issues (kb4041691kb4042895 , kb4041676 and kb4041681) for this month’s Microsoft updates. 2 of these issues relate to an exception error dialog box appearing, with the others causing a black screen, updates not to install in express , a BSOD and changing of display languages. Microsoft states in each link above they are working on resolutions to these issues.

====================

Adobe also made available their scheduled security updates for the following products:

Adobe Acrobat and Reader (priority 2, 56 CVEs)

Adobe Connect (priority 3, 5 CVEs)

Adobe DNG Converter (priority 3, 1 CVE)

Adobe Digital Editions (priority 3, 6 CVEs)

Adobe Experience Manager (priority 3, 3 CVEs)

Adobe Flash Player (priority 2, 5 CVEs)

Adobe InDesign CC (priority 3, 1 CVE)

Adobe Photoshop CC (priority 3, 2 CVEs)

Adobe Shockwave Player (priority 2, 1 CVE)

As always the priority updates are Flash Player first and Adobe Acrobat (in that order).

One point to note is that Adobe Acrobat 11 (or XI) / Reader 11 are now out of support from November onwards. These will be the final updates they receive. Adobe recommends upgrading to Adobe Acrobat DC or Reader DC (as appropriate). Apart from the different user interface of the DC version, possible privacy concerns were raised about one of the components of this newer version namely RdrCEF.exe (the purpose of which is described here). The suggestions to resolve these concerns were:

  • Adding cloud.adobe.com to your Hosts file (defined) to redirect it to localhost (defined) (to prevent it disclosing any private info)
  • Blocking RdRCEF.exe from accessing the internet using your software firewall

A list of changes to the Windows Registry (defined) were suggested in this forum thread but it is not clear if these are effective.

As always you can monitor the availability of security updates for most your software from the following websites (among others) or use Secunia PSI:
—————
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):

https://www.us-cert.gov/

A further useful source of update related information is the Calendar of Updates. News/announcements of updates in the categories of General SoftwareSecurity Software and Utilities are available on their website. The news/announcements are very timely and (almost always) contain useful direct download links as well as the changes/improvements made by those updates (where possible).

If you like and use it, please also consider supporting that entirely volunteer run website by donating.

—————
If you use any of the above software, please install the appropriate updates as soon as possible. Steps for installing updates for Windows are provided on the “Protecting Your PC” page.

====================
For Novembers Microsoft updates, I will prioritize the order of installation below:
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Critical severity:

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer (multiple versions of Edge and IE affected)

Microsoft Office Vulnerability : CVE-2017-11882 : was described as “extremely dangerous” by researchers at security firm Embedi to disclosed the vulnerability to Microsoft. In addition to installing the security update they recommend disabling the legacy equation editor to protect against future attackers against the code which does not benefit from the more secure coding practices.

====================

Please install the remaining updates at your earliest convenience.

As usual; I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

Thank you.

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VMware Workstation, Fusion and Horizon View Client
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A security advisory with details of how to obtain updates for the above mentioned products to address 6 CVEs was made available by VMware in November.

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Google Chrome:
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An update for Google Chrome included 2 security fixes while a second update included a further security fix,

Google Chrome updates automatically and will apply the update the next time Chrome is closed and then re-opened. Chrome can also be updated immediately by clicking the Options button (it looks like 3 stacked small horizontal lines, sometimes called a “hamburger” button) in the upper right corner of the window and choosing “About Google Chrome” from the menu. Follow the prompt to Re-launch Chrome for the updates to take effect.
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Wireshark 2.4.3 and 2.2.11
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v2.4.3: 3 CVEs (defined) resolved

v2.2.11: 3 CVEs resolved

As per standard process Linux distributions can obtain this update using the operating systems standard package manager (if the latest version is not installed automatically using the package manager you can instead compile the source code (v2.4.3) or v2.2.11). This forum thread and this forum thread may also be helpful to you with installing Wireshark on your Linux based system.

For Mac OS X and Windows, the update is available within the downloads section of the Wireshark website. In addition, a detailed FAQ for Wireshark is available here.
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Apple security update:
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An updates was made available by Apple on the 29th of November for macOS High Sierra to resolve a critical security vulnerability that could have resolved in the creation of a root (defined) account on the affected system allowing an unauthorised user privileged access to that system. Further details of this vulnerability are available here. As discussed in that link, this security update should have been installed automatically (no user action required).

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Mozilla Firefox and Firefox ESR
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During November Mozilla released security updates for Firefox and Firefox ESR(Extended Support Release) raising their version numbers to 57 (and later to 57.0.1) and 52.5 respectively.

  • Firefox 57 resolves 15 security issues more formally known as CVEs (defined) while 57.0.1 resolves 2 CVEs.
  • Firefox ESR 52.5 resolves 3 CVEs.

As always full details of the security issues resolved by these updates are available in the following links:

Firefox 57 and Firefox 57.0.1
Firefox 52.5

Details of how to install updates for Firefox are here. If Firefox is your web browser of choice, please update it as soon as possible to resolve these security issues.

August 2017 Security Updates Summary

It’s the second Tuesday of August and Microsoft and Adobe made available their monthly scheduled security updates.

Microsoft resolved 48 vulnerabilities in total more formally known as CVEs (defined). These are detailed within Microsoft’s new Security Updates Guide.

This month there is only 1 Known Issue for this month’s Microsoft updates.

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Separately Adobe made available four security bulletins for the following products:

Adobe Digital Editions (priority 2, 2x critical, 7x important CVEs)

Adobe Experience Manager (priority 2, 1x important, 2x moderate CVEs)

Adobe Acrobat/Reader (priority 2, 43x critical, 24 important CVEs)

Adobe Flash (priority 1, 1x critical, 1x important CVEs)

The priority ratings are explained in this link. Depending on which version of Flash Player you have, please review the Adobe security bulletin or Microsoft bulletin (the link includes “April” in the URL but it is not a typo) as appropriate and apply the recommended updates. Google Chrome users should have the updated version installed automatically later this week (if not already available).

If you use any of the above-mentioned Adobe products, please review the security bulletins linked to above and apply the necessary updates. As per the established process the Flash update should be installed as soon as possible since exploit kits (defined) tend to take advantage of newly disclosed vulnerabilities very quickly.

Of note this month is the particularly large Adobe Acrobat/Reader update and the very small Flash Player update. The number of vulnerabilities resolved in last month’s Flash Player update was also small but it is too early to tell if vulnerability is moving away from Flash Player due to Adobe’s recent notice of their intention to de-commission Flash Player in 2020.

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Update:12th September 2017:
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Adobe last month updated their Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader again after the availability of the initial patches in order resolve a regression (defined). Please ensure your installations of these products are updated to the version detailed by Adobe in their updated security bulletin (or are more recent than those listed in the bulletin).

Thank you.
=======================

You can monitor the availability of security updates for most your software from the following websites (among others) or use Secunia PSI:
—————
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):

https://www.us-cert.gov/

A further useful source of update related information is the Calendar of Updates. News/announcements of updates in the categories of General SoftwareSecurity Software and Utilities are available on their website. The news/announcements are very timely and (almost always) contain useful direct download links as well as the changes/improvements made by those updates (where possible).

If you like and use it, please also consider supporting that entirely volunteer run website by donating.

—————
If you use any of the above software, please install the appropriate updates as soon as possible. Steps for installing updates for Windows are provided on the “Protecting Your PC” page.

====================
For this month’s Microsoft updates, I will prioritize the order of installation for you below:
====================
Critical severity:

Windows Search

Microsoft Windows Hyper-V

Windows Scripting Engine (affecting Edge, Internet Explorer and Office)

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer

Windows PDF Viewer

 

Important severity:

Windows Font Engine
====================

Please install the remaining updates at your earliest convenience.

As always you can find detailed information on the contents of each security bulletin within ComputerWorld’s Patch Tuesday Debugged column.

Another security pre-caution that you may wish to take if you have Microsoft EMET (please ensure your version of EMET is the most recent version 5.52) installed is to use it to protect you from Adobe Flash being used to exploit vulnerabilities when you open a Microsoft Office document or Adobe PDF file. I provide recommendations of how to do this at the end of the July 2015 Update Summary. Please note that Microsoft EMET will be out of support on the 31st of July 2018.

As noted in this new blog post, parts of EMET are to become available in the Creator’s Fall Update for Windows 10 set for release in September 2017.

As usual; I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

Thank you.

Pwn2Own 2017 Results

The final day of competition within Pwn2Own 2017 took place on Friday, 17th March. Full details of how the individual teams performed and how many exploits were successful are available here , here and here.

In summary the following products were successfully exploited:

Adobe Flash
Adobe Reader
Apple Safari
Apple macOS (mostly the macOS kernel)(defined)
Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Windows kernel
Mozilla Firefox
Ubuntu Linux
VMware Workstation

The contest saw 51 vulnerabilities used and a total of USD$833,000 awarded to the contestants (a very large increase over last year’s USD$460K). As I noted last year, many vulnerabilities once again were present within the macOS and Windows kernels specifically:

Apple macOS kernel:
race condition (defined)
information disclosures (defined)
out of bounds (OOB) bug (defined)

Microsoft Windows kernel:
integer overflows (defined)
buffer overflows (defined)
uninitialised buffers (discussed here)
use-after-free (defined here and here)
information disclosures
out of bounds (OOB) bug
race condition

As before Microsoft and Apple need to do more thorough static analysis/auditing/fuzzing (defined here and here) of the kernel to find and resolve vulnerabilities before they are exploited. It is a surprise this year again highlights this short coming which secure coding practices e.g. Microsoft’s SDL and Adobe’s SPLC (among others) were intended to reduce.

Of note is; Mozilla Firefox released Firefox 52.0.1 to resolve an integer flow vulnerability in less than 1 day after it’s disclosure during Pwn2Own; a fantastic response time.

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Update: 28th March 2017:
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On the 28th of March, VMware made available security updates to address the vulnerabilities discovered during Pwn2Own.

Apple have also made available updates (listed in this post) to resolve the vulnerabilities discovered in Pwn2Own 2017. It is unclear if all vulnerabilities are now addressed.

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Update: 11th April 2017:
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In late March, the Linux kernel vulnerability disclosed during Pwn2Own was resolved very quickly with Ubuntu also releasing their fix for this issue.

Adobe have released updates for Flash and Acrobat/Reader to address what appears to be 5 vulnerabilities in Flash and 6  in Acrobat/Reader (assuming near sequential CVEs and the team names attributed top them) disclosed during Pwn2Own.

We can again look forward to these vulnerabilities being addressed over the coming months; helping to make our products more secure.

Thank you.

Pwn2Own 2017 Contest Announced (Tenth Anniversary)

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Update: 19th March 2017:
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A more recent blog post discusses the results of the 2017 Pwn2Own contest.

Thank you.

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Original Post:
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With the month of March not too far away, I’m looking forward to the annual Pwn2Own contest taking place in Vancouver, Canada. Regular readers of this blog will know of the benefits it brings and why I look forward to it each year.

This year sees the return of Adobe Reader to the competition; a good decision due to the large numbers of vulnerabilities still being patched. I applaud the decision of Mozilla Firefox returning too since a zero day (defined) exploit was seen in recent times. It’s also in the top 3 in terms of usage. With a 64 bit version now available it should increase usage/competitiveness even further.

The full list of products that will be in the competition is here.

Just some of the interesting new additions are Ubuntu, Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft Office applications, which have never been present before. With vulnerabilities being patched routinely for all three of categories (especially for Microsoft Office), their inclusion should help us all when vulnerabilities are exploited and the researchers rewarded for their excellent work.

With the rise of malware for Apple Mac OS X and Linux it’s great to see them both in the contest this year. Previously only Mac OS was present.

Since the contest is celebrating its 10th anniversary it’s great to see other additions such as the Apache web servers and Ubuntu servers too. I often see servers installed and patched very little, if at all. This leads to situations where servers continue to have vulnerabilities long after they have been patched (more on that in this blog post). As for web servers, cross site scripting and CSRF remain consistent threats.

With extra points awarded for root access (defined) for Mac OS X or System level (defined) access for Windows this year’s contest is bigger than ever. With the more vulnerabilities that are found by the researchers the more they are awarded and the more everyone benefits by the vulnerabilities being responsibly disclosed (defined) to their vendors.

I will write another post when the results of this year’s contest are available and will discuss any highlights and how they will benefit us as users of these products.

Thank you.

May 2016 Security Updates Summary

Earlier today Microsoft and Adobe made their scheduled monthly security updates available.

Microsoft’s updates consist of 17 security bulletins one of which relates to an upcoming Adobe Flash Player update (more details below). These bulletins resolve 36 vulnerabilities more formally known as CVEs (defined).

One point to note that should make deploying these updates easier is that Microsoft’s Security Bulletin Summary doesn’t list any Known Issues at this time. However please double check the IT Pro Patch Tuesday blog to ensure that there are no issues being experienced before you begin installing the new updates.

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Update: 25th June 2016:
Microsoft’s Security Bulletin Summary was updated to include known issues with the Microsoft .Net Framework update. Workarounds and resolutions to these issues are available here.
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As mentioned above one of Microsoft’s bulletins relates to Adobe’s Flash Player update; however, that update will be made available later this week (scheduled for May 12th according to Adobe). This update will resolve a zero day (defined) vulnerability that is currently being exploited.

In addition, Microsoft made available a security advisory yesterday applicable to Windows 8.1 (and later)(and equivalent Windows Server OSes) for the FalseStart facility of TLS. Please review the advisory and install the applicable update for your systems.

It wasn’t just Flash Player being updated by Adobe today; updates for Adobe Acrobat DC, Acrobat XI, Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Reader XI address 92 CVEs within those products. These vulnerabilities have been classified as critical but have been assigned Priority 2 by Adobe, meaning that these updates should be installed sometime within the next 30 days. Further details of these updates are available in this security bulletin. An update for Adobe ColdFusion was also made available resolving 3 high severity CVEs.

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Update: 11th May 2016:
Microsoft have released their Adobe Flash Player (for Windows 8.1 and later) security bulletin earlier than anticipated. It addresses 24 critical CVEs. Please re-run a check for updates on your Windows PC and install any necessary updates for Flash Player. Further information is available in the relevant security bulletin.

Thank you.
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Update: 12th May 2016:
As scheduled Adobe have released an updated version of Flash Player v21.0.0.242 as well as Adobe AIR (its application runtime). It addresses 25 CVEs (the extra CVE is the zero-day vulnerability that Adobe has now resolved). It’s unclear when Microsoft will re-release their update to address this remaining CVE or if the existing update already includes it. However, Google Chrome’s update earlier this week already includes Flash Player v21.0.0.242.

Further information about the Flash Player update is available in this Sophos blog post. Separately, I will continue to update this post as more information becomes available. Thank you.
====================

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Update: 15th May 2016:
As expected Microsoft revised their security bulletin for Adobe Flash to include the update that Adobe made available last Thursday. Their update now addresses 25 CVEs rather than the previous 24 CVEs.

Please ensure that you install this update as soon as possible. Thank you.
====================

If you use any of Adobe’s PDF applications mentioned above or Adobe ColdFusion, please follow the above product links to the appropriate security bulletins and apply the necessary updates. This is especially important for the Adobe Reader update since it resolves a very large number of critical severity vulnerabilities among them use-after-free vulnerabilities (defined), heap (defined) overflows and an integer overflow (defined).

As mentioned in January; Adobe no longer supports Acrobat X and Adobe Reader X. They did not receive any updates within that bulletin and will no longer do so. Please upgrade to Adobe Acrobat DC/Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat XI/Adobe Reader according to your preference.

You can monitor the availability of security updates for the majority of your software from the following websites (among others) or use Secunia PSI:

—————
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):

https://www.us-cert.gov/

A further useful source of update related information is the Calendar of Updates. News/announcements of updates in the categories of General Software, Security Software and Utilities are available on their website. The news/announcements are very timely and (almost always) contain useful direct download links as well as the changes/improvements made by those updates (where possible).

If you like and use it, please also consider supporting that entirely volunteer run website by making a donation.

—————
If you use any of the above software, please install the appropriate updates as soon as possible. Steps for installing updates for Windows are provided on the “Protecting Your PC” page.

To assist with making the best use of your time when deploying these updates, I will prioritise the updates for you below:

Please make the Microsoft Internet Explorer update your first priority since CVE-2016-0189 (which it resolves) is currently under attack in the wild (namely being exploited on computing devices used by the general public in their professional and personal lives)). Follow this with Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Shell, Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers (defined), JScript and VBScript, Windows Journal and Windows IIS due to their severities and prevalent use.

Another security pre-caution that you may wish to take if you have Microsoft EMET (please ensure your version of EMET is the most recent version 5.5) installed is to use it to protect you from Adobe Flash being used to exploit vulnerabilities when you open a Microsoft Office document or Adobe PDF file. I provide recommendations of how to do this at the end of the July 2015 Update Summary.

As always as a routine precaution I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates in order to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

Thank you.

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Aside:
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I wanted to apologise for the lack of recent blog posts being published. The PC that I primarily use to write and publish the content for this blog has suffered a hard disk failure. While I have not lost any data (which is a relief!); the system is non-operational until a suitable replacement can be obtained and installed.

That may be sometime in the next 2 weeks. In the meantime, I will continue to publish using an alternate personal system of mine. This may sound like a perfect substitute, but for a number of reasons I have been finding it far from ideal. But not to worry.

However, posts will be sporadic and will not be as timely as I would like. Some interesting high impact vulnerabilities have been disclosed since my most recent blog post (in April) as well as a large number of security updates. I will endeavour to discuss all of these with you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as I resolve this issue.

March 2016 Security Updates Summary

Today is Microsoft’s Update Tuesday. Adobe have also released updates for Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and Adobe Digital Editions (Adobe Flash was not updated today; more details on this below).

Similar to last month there are 13 Microsoft security bulletins resolving 44 security issues more formally known as CVEs (defined).

At the time of writing Microsoft’s Security Bulletin Summary does not list any Known issues for the security bulletins made available today. An alternative source for information on Known Issues is the IT Pro Patch Tuesday blog which is usually updated shortly after the release of the updates if any issues are encountered. No issues are listed at the time of writing.

Adobe’s updates for Adobe Acrobat DC, Acrobat XI, Acrobat Reader DC and Adobe Reader XI address 3 CVEs within these products. These vulnerabilities have been classified as critical but have been assigned Priority 2 by Adobe, meaning that these updates should be installed sometime within the next 30 days. Further details of these updates are available in this security bulletin. An update for Adobe Digital Editions was also made available resolving 1 critical CVE.

If you use any of Adobe’s PDF applications mentioned above or Adobe Digital Editions, please follow the above product links to the appropriate security bulletins and apply the necessary updates.

As mentioned in January; Adobe no longer supports Acrobat X and Adobe Reader X. They did not receive any updates within that bulletin and will no longer do so. Please upgrade to Adobe Acrobat DC/Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat XI/Adobe Reader according to your preference.

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Update: 10th March 2016:
Earlier today Adobe published an updated version of Flash Player bringing it to version 21.0.0.182. This update resolves 23 security issues (all have been assigned CVEs). Adobe AIR, their application runtime was also updated to version 21.0.0.176 within the same bulletin.

Please follow the above Adobe Flash Player bulletin link and apply the necessary updates as soon as possible due to the severity of the issues the Flash update addresses and since one issue, an integer overflow (defined) vulnerability CVE-2016-1010 is being exploited in targeted attacks.

Thank you.
=======================

Adobe within their PSIRT blog post mentioned that a security update for Flash Player will be available in the coming days. No reason(s) for the delay was/were given. Wolfgang Kandek of Qualys in a blog post makes educated guesses as to what may be the cause for the delay. I will update this post when the updates become available.

You can monitor the availability of security updates for the majority of your software from the following websites (among others) or use Secunia PSI:

—————
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):
https://www.us-cert.gov/

A further useful source of update related information is the Calendar of Updates. News/announcements of updates in the categories of General Software, Security Software and Utilities are available on their website. The news/announcements are very timely and (almost always) contain useful direct download links as well as the changes/improvements made by those updates (where possible).
—————

If you use any of the above software, please install the appropriate updates as soon as possible. Steps for installing updates for Windows are provided on the “Protecting Your PC” page.

To assist with the deployment of Microsoft’s security updates I would recommend prioritising them as follows: Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Windows Graphics Fonts, Windows PDF Library and Windows Media (in this order) due to their critical severities and widespread use.

As always you can then install any remaining applicable updates beginning this round of updates with the Windows USB Mass Storage Class Driver Security update (more info here) due to it’s ease of exploitation and the level of access it can allow an attacker to obtain. Next I would recommend the Kernel Mode Drivers update and Microsoft Office update since exploitation of these vulnerabilities is listed as more likely in the Security Bulletin Summary.

One final security pre-caution that you may wish to take if you have Microsoft EMET (please ensure your version of EMET is the most recent version 5.5) installed is to use it to protect you from Adobe Flash being used to exploit vulnerabilities when you open a Microsoft Office document or Adobe PDF file. I provide recommendations of how to do this at the end of the July 2015 Update Summary.

As always as a routine precaution I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates in order to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

Thank you.