Next Tuesday is the second Tuesday in October, and that means it is Microsoft Patch Tuesday. Overall, it is a moderate month in terms of patch volume, but the couple that are rated as Critical should be addressed quickly to prevent exploits.
According to the Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for October 2011, we can expect a total of eight security bulletins next Tuesday--not the smallest Patch Tuesday ever, but also far short of the biggest. Two of the security bulletins are rated as Critical, with the remaining six classified as Important.
The affected software includes Windows, the Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway, Microsoft Host Integration Server, the Internet Explorer Web browser, .NET Framework, and Microsoft Silverlight. The Critical updates affect Internet Explorer, and .NET Framework / Silverlight.
Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, explains in a blog post, "Top priority should be given to the remote code execution patch for all versions of Internet Explorer (including 9, the most modern version of IE on Windows 7). The other critical higher priority remote code execution patch affects the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Silverlight."
Kandek adds, "The remaining six bulletins are for Windows itself and a number of less pervasive Microsoft technologies, such as Forefront and the Host Integration server. They are all rated as important and not all of them apply to all configurations. IT administrators will have to evaluate to what degree they affect their networks, servers and workstations."
Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst for Lumension, stresses that nearly all of the eight updates from Microsoft require a system reboot, so IT admins and users should be prepared for brief disruptions of Internet-facing servers and endpoint PCs.
Check back next Tuesday for a more in-depth overview and analysis of the security updates and relevant vulnerabilities once the updates are released from Microsoft.