Internet Explorer, always heavily scrutinized by both security researchers and online attackers, has once again gotten the majority of patches in this month’s Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday round of monthly bug fixes.
For June, Microsoft issued 8 bulletins, which collectively contain 45 patches. The bulletin for IE alone MS15-06 contains 24 patches, including 20 that cover critical flaws, meaning they should be applied as quickly as possible.
Other bulletins cover faults in the Windows operating system, the Office suite, Windows Media Player, Active Directory, and the Exchange Server.
On average, Microsoft issues about 20 patches a month for IE, noted Wolfgang Kandek chief technology officer for IT security firm Qualys.
IE is probably not significantly any more buggy than any other piece of complex software, Kandek said, but it gets the lion’s share of scrutiny from both security researchers and malicious hackers alike, given that it connects users to the online world.
Will Edge be more secure?
It will be interesting to track how many flaws Microsoft’s new Edge browser will generate each month, once this IE replacement is released with Windows 10 later this year, Kandek said.
On the one hand, new software almost always has more bugs than software that has been tested and refined over time. But Microsoft may have also implemented more security conscious development practices in the 20 years since IE was first built.
This month’s fixes for Windows Media Player, MS15-060, were also designated as critical.
These flaws would allow an attacker to gain entry to a user’s system if the user clicks on a Web link that the media software would open automatically, such as streaming music or a video file, said Amol Sarwate, Qualys director of engineering.
Enterprises administrators should immediately tend to MS15-059, a collection of fixes for Microsoft Office, Sarwate advised. This bulletin addresses a series of vulnerabilities found in Office 2007, Office 2010, and Office 2013 that allow an attacker to gain control of a computer by tricking the user into opening a maliciously crafted Office document.
One curious aspect to this month’s round of security bulletins is how one bulletin appears to have not been issued. Typically Microsoft numbers bulletins in sequential order. This month, it issued MS15-056 and MS15-057, as well as MS15-059 and MS15-060, but not a MS15-058 bulletin.
This bulletin could have been pulled due to a failure found in last-minute testing, Kandek speculated. This would not be surprising given that some previous Microsoft patches have caused operational issues with customers.
Administrators should also take look at a set of critical patches that Adobe has issued for its Flash player, Kandek advised.