[ISN] Microsoft issues seven security patches

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Feb 15 03:14:07 EST 2006


By Shelley Solheim
FEBRUARY 14, 2006

Microsoft Corp. today released seven software patches, including fixes 
for security flaws in Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows Media Player 
that were given a critical severity rating by the company. 
But security researchers said that the latest monthly batch of patches 
from Microsoft isn't particularly ominous. 

"These are seven of the most boring patches I've ever seen," said Russ 
Cooper, a senior information security analyst at Cybertrust Inc. in 
Herndon, Va., and editor of the NTBugtraq mailing list. "I think they 
were being nice to us on Valentine's Day so no one would be bogged 
down applying seven [patches] tonight." 

"There's definitely no super-serious, freak-out vulnerability," agreed 
Mike Murray, director of vulnerability research at nCircle Network 
Security Inc., a security software vendor in San Francisco. 

One of the critical patches provides a fix for a vulnerability in the 
way that IE handles Windows Metafile (WMF) images. However, the flaw 
only affects IE 5.01 Service Pack 4 running on Windows 2000 systems 
that have the SP4 version of the operating system installed, Microsoft 
said in a security bulletin. 

The vulnerability could enable an attacker to construct a WMF image 
that would support the remote execution of code on systems if users 
viewed a malicious Web site, e-mail or e-mail attachment, according to 
Microsoft. If successful, an attacker could take control of an 
affected system. 

Because the new vulnerability affects such a narrow scope of users, it 
isn't as severe as the WMF flaw that Microsoft patched early last 
month, ahead of the company's regular monthly patch release in 
January, said Michael Sutton, director of VeriSign Inc.'s iDefense 
Labs unit in Reston, Va. "We're not aware of any public exploit code 
for it at this time," Sutton said.

The other critical vulnerability affects the way that Windows Media 
Player processes bitmap (.bmp) files, Microsoft said. An attacker 
could exploit that flaw by creating a malicious .bmp file that could 
be used to execute code remotely or take control of systems if users 
visited a malicious Web site or viewed a specially crafted e-mail 

Microsoft deemed the Media Player flaw to be critical for users of 
Windows XP SP1 and SP2 as well as Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 
SP4 and other earlier versions of the operating system. 

The Media Player flaw could pose more of a ripe target for attackers 
than the WMF one does, Sutton cautioned. "Even though Windows Media 
Player is not something generally used to render images, it has the 
capability of doing that," he said. "It's not difficult to create a 
Web page that uses Windows Media Player to display an image instead of 
the default application." 

The remaining five patches affect products such as PowerPoint and the 
Windows Web Client and were all rated as "important" fixes by 

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