Patch Tuesday Includes Shocking Update for IE9

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Time flies. More than half of 2012 has already passed, and now—with the Independence Day festivities behind us—we turn our attention to the seventh Patch Tuesday of the year. There are nine new security bulletins expected from Microsoft next week, including a critical update for Internet Explorer 9.

Only three of the nine security bulletins are ranked Critical, while the remaining six are rated as Important. The fixes and updates address vulnerabilities across a broad range of Microsoft platforms and software—Windows, SharePoint, Office (and Office for Mac), and Internet Explorer to name a few.

Patch Tuesday includes a Critical update that applies only to IE9.
Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle, points out, “Usually, Microsoft patches IE every other month, and we just got a cumulative update in June. That's why it's so surprising to see that IE9, the 'most secure' version of IE, will be patched next week. It's pretty safe to say this bulletin will patch something pretty serious.”

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, also notes in a blog post that it’s bizarre for Microsoft to have an update for Internet Explorer in back-to-back months. He stresses, though, that because this update is limited to Internet Explorer 9 it only impacts Windows Vista and Windows 7 users.

For the July Patch Tuesday, the proverbial “elephant in the room” is the flaw in Microsoft XML core services. Marcus Carey, a security researcher with Rapid7, explains, “Many are expecting a patch for CVE-2012-1889: a vulnerability in Microsoft XML Core Services, which is currently being exploited in the wild. Microsoft released a temporary fix for this last month, and hopefully organizations will apply that while Microsoft works on a permanent fix; however, it isn’t clear whether that will be issued in the July Patch Tuesday release.

Storms also questions whether that patch is part of the mix this month. He points out that Microsoft typically references the security advisory in the advance notification when patching a known bug like that, but that notification is lacking in the information from Microsoft. Storms adds, “If Microsoft doesn't patch this bug it's going to cause some heartburn for IT security teams. We've already seen reliable reports that the exploit for this bug has been included in several popular attack tool kits."

Kandek, on the other hand, believes the XML flaw is addressed in this Patch Tuesday lineup. “Bulletin 1, rated "critical", affects all versions of Windows, and we expect it to address the XML vulnerability disclosed by Microsoft in June's Patch Tuesday as KB2719615.”

We’ll get the full details when the security bulletins are officially released next Tuesday. For now, just know that there are nine new security bulletins expected, and that at least a couple of them seem to be the type of urgent patches you should apply immediately.

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