Tag Archives: EMET

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.

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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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.

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

July 2017 Security Updates Summary

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

Microsoft resolved a relatively large number of vulnerabilities at 54 in total more formally known as CVEs (defined). However it’s less than last month at 94. These are detailed within Microsoft’s new Security Updates Guide.

After 2 months of updates being released for versions of Windows which were no longer supported, this month is a return to the usual expected patches.

At the time of writing there are no Known Issues for this month’s Microsoft updates. The IT Pro Patch Tuesday blog which I routinely referenced is no longer available.

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Adobe made available just two security bulletins for the following products:

Adobe Connect (priority 3, 2x important and 1x moderate CVE)

Adobe Flash (priority 1, 1x critical, 2x 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.

 

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 Edge and Internet Explorer

NT LAN Manager Elevation of privilege (CVE-2017-8563)(Corporate users: please ensure to set a more secure LDAP setting as per this knowledge base article)

Windows Explorer (CVE-2017-8463)
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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.

Note: This post marks the 300th post on this blog. Thank you very much to my readers and here’s to the next 300!

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Update:8th August 2017:
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Nvidia Geforce Drivers:
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This update applies to Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Windows and resolves up to 9 security vulnerabilities. The steps to install the drivers are detailed here. I detailed where Nvidia list their security advisories in a previous blog post.

Windows 10 Fall Creator’s update to include EMET features

Late last month Microsoft published two blogs (here and here) which announce forthcoming security features being added to the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (intended to be released in September 2017).

Among the features such as enhancements to the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) are features such as Windows Defender Application Guard (intended to block zero day (defined) threats by isolating the threat), improved Windows Defender Device Guard and Windows Defender Exploit Guard. The final feature here, Exploit Guard is noteworthy since it will incorporate some of the mitigations (defined) previously available from EMET and will provide the ability to harden legacy applications, just like EMET did namely 32 bit Windows applications.

The improvements to Windows Defender Exploit Guard don’t stop there; it introduces new mitigations and vulnerability prevention capabilities. Moreover a new class of mitigations leveraging intelligence from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph (ISG), will include intrusion rules to protect against more advanced threats e.g. zero days exploits. Exploit guard will act as “an extra layer of defense against malware attacks in-between the firewall and antivirus software.”

As a fan of Microsoft EMET, it’s great to see it’s return. However whether it will be available in all versions of Windows 10 or only corporate managed Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise is not yet clear.

I will update this post when new information becomes available. Thank you.

Adobe Releases Flash Security Update Due To New Exploit

Yesterday Adobe released an emergency security update for Flash Player that they had previously announced earlier this week. This update was released ahead of the next Update Tuesday since the Magnitude Exploit kit(defined) is exploiting a zero-day vulnerability (defined) in order to infect devices/systems with ransomware (defined) specifically the Cerber and Locky variants.

The update address 24 critical security vulnerabilities (more formally known as CVEs (defined) one of which (as mentioned above) is currently being exploited and has been since at least the 31st of March according to the security firm Proofpoint.

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Update: 13th April 2016:

Microsoft issued their security update for Windows 8.1 (Internet Explorer) and Windows 10 users (Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, respectively). Further details are available in their security bulletin.

Thank you.
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(Please see update above): At the time of writing Microsoft had not yet made available the relevant updates for Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. They now do so by releasing a separate security bulletin. The full list of security bulletins is available from this page. Google reacted quickly releasing version 49.0.2623.112 of Chrome which includes the updated Flash Player v21.0.0.213.

Flash Player updates for Linux, Apple Mac OS X and Windows are available from this link (which can be used if you don’t have automatic updating enabled or simply wish to install the update as soon as possible). As explained by Sophos the automatic updater of Flash Player updates systems in phases in order to avoid too much congestion on Adobe’s servers.

As always I would recommend that if you have Flash Player installed to install the necessary update as soon as possible. You can check if you have Flash Player installed using this page.

In addition, please follow my recommendation to enable the ASR mitigation of Microsoft EMET as detailed in this post in order to mitigate against Flash based vulnerabilities being exploited in applications that can open Microsoft Office documents and/or Adobe PDF files.

Thank you.

Google Chrome Benefits From Windows 10 Security Mitigations

Earlier this year in February, Google added several new security mitigations (defined within this post) to Google Chrome that work in partnership with lesser known changes within the Windows 10 update (known as Build 10586 or Version 1511) made available by Microsoft in November last year.

How Do These New Techniques Work?
In total 3 new mitigations were added:

    1. Block un-trusted fonts
    On numerous occasions over the last year Microsoft have released security updates that address vulnerabilities related to Windows handling of fonts (examples here, here and here (among others)). Such vulnerabilities are of interest to attackers since when successfully exploited they provide the attacker with kernel mode privileges (defined). The concept of a kernel is defined here. A mitigation designed to make exploiting such vulnerabilities more difficult is present in the most recent version of Microsoft EMET version 5.5 and is discussed in more detail on page 11 of the EMET user guide as well as this TechNet article.

    Windows 10 features a system wide means of blocking the use of fonts to only the Windows Font directory (folder) by default located at: C:\Windows\Fonts However due to the application compatibility issues that this feature can cause it is turned off by default. While the ability to enable this security feature for running applications on a per process (defined) basis is available this is unsuitable for Chrome since it creates multiple processes with different security permissions applied. However, the November 2015 Windows 10 added the ability to enable the blocking of fonts for individual processes of which Chrome can now take advantage of.

    2. Block the creation of child processes
    This mitigation is intended to block an attacker’s exploit from creating new running processes without any restrictions of the Google Chrome sandbox (discussed below) on a Windows device if they are successful at exploiting Google Chrome. Google Chrome has always incorporated a protective sandbox (defined) that prevents malicious code from being able to make changes to the computer upon which Google Chrome is installed.

    To address a vulnerability reported by Google to Microsoft in late 2014; the Windows 10 November update provides the ability to applications (if they choose to use it) to block the ability to create child processes including console processes (disused further in the Google bug report linked to above). This new capability is now utilized by Google Chrome.

    3. Block the loading of DLLs (defined) from network drives
    While Windows provides the ability for an application to load a DLL from a network location (e.g. a mapped network drive); this can be used by an attacker to insert malicious code into a legitimate application (e.g. if they substitute a legitimate DLL in a network location with a malicious DLL of the same name).

    This ability has been disabled within Google Chrome when it’s installed on Windows 10 with the November 2015 update further hardening it against this type of attack. This capability is similar to the defences of Microsoft Edge against DLL injection.

    Conclusion
    All of the above new mitigations provide defence-in-depth (defined)(PDF) security against possible future vulnerabilities and provide further incentive for Windows users to migrate to Windows 10. Please do not misunderstand me I am not trying to advocate that users do so, I am simply pointing out the additional security features that are available if you choose to use Windows 10 (with the November update) and Google Chrome in combination.

    Thank you.

Microsoft Releases EMET 5.5

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Update: 11th July 2017:
As noted in a new blog post, an upcoming update to Windows 10 will contain some features of EMET. Further details are available in the above mentioned blog post.

Thank you.
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Update: 14th March 2017:
Since my last update of this post EMET was updated to version 5.52 to resolve the following issues:

  • An issue with the EAF mitigation that causes some applications to hang on Windows 7 SP1.
  • A fix to the MSI installer to allow in-place upgrade behavior.
  • Removed EAF+ mitigation for Chrome from “Popular Software.xml”
  • Fixed import behavior for System Mitigations.

Thank you.

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Update: 17th November 2016:
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Please note that Microsoft EMET is in the process of being retired with the end of support scheduled for the 31st of July 2018. Further details are available in this blog post.

However Microsoft updated EMET in August 2016 to version 5.51 which incorporates the following minor changes:

  • EMET 5.5 GUI crashing on startup
  • Unexpected BitLocker warning in EMET 5.5 when changing system-wide DEP setting

Further details on EMETs mitigations as well known compatibility issues are listed in this article. A more detailed forum thread on this topic is available here.

Thank you.
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Update: 17th November 2016:
Please note that Microsoft EMET is in the process of being retired with the end of support scheduled for the 31st of July 2018. Further details are available in this blog post.

However Microsoft updated EMET in August 2016 to version 5.51 which incorporates the following minor changes:

  • EMET 5.5 GUI crashing on startup
  • Unexpected BitLocker warning in EMET 5.5 when changing system-wide DEP setting

Further details on EMETs mitigations as well known compatibility issues are listed in this article. A more detailed forum thread on this topic is available here.

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

Update 23rd February 2016:
According to this FireEye blog post EMET 5.5 also addresses a critical security vulnerability that was responsibly disclosed (defined) to Microsoft.

As mentioned below, if you use a version of EMET prior to version 5.5, please use the links provided to install version 5.5. as soon as possible. Thank you.

Update 3rd April 2016:
As discussed in a more recent blog post the Untrusted font mitigation of EMET 5.5 is now used by Google Chrome when installed on Windows 10 (with the November 2015 update). Thank you.

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Original Post:
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In early February Microsoft released version 5.5 of their Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

This is an important update for users of Windows 10 since it adds full compatibility with that version of Windows in contrast to the previous 5.2 version of EMET. The full list of changes in this new version is available in this Microsoft blog post.

In addition, this version adds a noteworthy enhancement for Windows 10 users that blocks exploit that use font files stored in any directory (folder) in order to gain additional privileges when either remotely or locally (already have a presence) attacking your system. All fonts not stored in the %windir%/Fonts directory will not be loaded. If you are currently using an older version of EMET, please consider upgrading to EMET 5.5 to take advantage of the enhancements in this update. Further resources concerning installation, use and obtaining support for EMET are available on the Protecting Your PC page of this blog.

Please note that in order to migrate previous EMET settings to version 5.5 Microsoft have provided a PowerShell script to do so. Instructions for using this script to migrate the settings are available on page 33 and 36 of the EMET 5.5 users guide.

Thank you.