Fix for Windows XP 'complete compromise' coming on Patch Tuesday

Just four Microsoft security bulletins this month, none critical

Microsoft is patching Windows XP on this month's Patch Tuesday, shoring up a vulnerability that can lead to computers being taken over entirely by attackers.

While the bulleting about the patch is ranked important – second in severity behind critical – known exploits of the vulnerability can result in attackers executing arbitrary code with kernel privileges, according to a Symantec blog post. “Successful exploits will result in the complete compromise of affected computers,” the post says.

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According to Microsoft the same problem affects Windows Server 2003 and will be patched this month.

“It’s only rated important for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Microsoft will end support for XP in April,” says Russ Ernst, director of product management at Lumension. “If you’re still using XP, this will be an important patch to deploy. And, hopefully you are working on your migration plan.”

Another alert, Bulletin 1, promises patches for all supported versions of Microsoft Word and SharePoint Server. “Bulletin 1 is the main door that needs to be patched,” says Tommy Chin, a technical support engineer with CORE Security. Once inside a system by exploiting this vulnerability, other flaws being fixed this month can provide attackers with administrative rights. “I recommend patching Bulletin 1 as soon as possible,” Chin says.

The fourth bulletin addresses a denial-of-service weakness in Microsoft Dynamics AX. If you have Dynamics in your environment, don’t overlook it,” says Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7. “It’s the type of system where downtime can have a material cost to your business.”

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

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