January 2012 Archives

Trustworthy Computing has made MS a better company

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On January 15 2002, Bill Gates announced to the world that Microsoft would completely change how it developed software, putting quality as the main priority. Given its Windows and Office software runs on the majority of the world's desktop and laptop computers, any quality issues affected millions of users. Given Microsoft software is so widely deployed, hackers could target the quality issues, exploiting poor quality code using simple buffer overflow attacks, to gain access to millions of Windows computers. For instance the Code Red, attack in 2001, brought down Microsoft's IIS web server software, while SQL Slammer, in 2003, became the fastest spreading worm ever.
Image representing Bill Gates as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Trustworthy Computing, (TwC) the term Gates coined to describe the company's strategy on IT security and software quality, would have a profound effect on Microsoft products. Windows XP had to be redeveloped as Windows XP SP2. It is fair to say, that today, the extent of Trustworthy Computing, has made Microsoft a producer of high quality software. It has also led to Adobe, tying its patch releases in with Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, monthly updates.
Prior to Patch Tuesday, software companies were very secretive about security vulnerabilities. While it may have generated negative headlines about the risks and vulnerabilities in Microsoft software, Patch Tuesday has become an essential part of IT administration, allowing IT departments to plan and test updates to their Microsoft software.
Speaking to Computer Weekly, Steve Lipner, partner director of program management, TwC  group at Microsoft, said "We have made progress and learned a lot of lessons, but we know we are not done. Computing is part of the fabric of society and trustworthy computing is still something we have to focus on."
What TwC has achieved is raise the bar on software quality, and, at the same time, it has made the general public more aware of keeping their computers "up-to-date." In this age of greater and greater connectivity, such awareness will go some way to protect people from hacking and phishing.
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Microsoft embeds Bing's data centre admin into System Center 2012

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English: Bing_Brand_Logo,Microsoft

Image via Wikipedia

Brad Silver is the Microsoft senior vice president in charge of the company's System Center management tool family. In a blog post today he said that while a business would typically have one IT admin for every 30-40 servers, "When we look at the Microsoft datacenters that host our cloud services (Bing, Windows Update, Hotmail, Windows Azure) we see a ratio of one employee to four or five thousand servers."

He says Microsoft has taken its experience of managing these large data centres, and applied what it learnt, to improve System Center 2012, which is now available as an RC1 download. In the blog he adds, "Cloud computing is the combination of great virtualisation and great management capabilities. With the right management, customers can transform their IT infrastructure into services the business can use to quickly and reliably deliver the all-important business applications from the cloud."


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Microsoft Patch Tuesday Application Compatibility Report - January 2012

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Executive Summary

With this January Microsoft Patch Tuesday update, we see a set of 7 updates; 1 with the rating of Critical and 6 with the rating of Important. This is a moderately sized update from Microsoft and the potential impact for the updates is likely to be low.

 

As part of the Patch Tuesday Security Update analysis performed by the ChangeBASE team, we have seen a small number of potential compatibility issues, including some which were caused by the fifth update in this release, MS12-005, where vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows could allow Remote Code Execution.

 

Given the nature of the changes and updates included in each of these patches, most systems will require a reboot to successfully implement any and all of the patches and updates released in this January Patch Tuesday release cycle.

 

Sample Results

 

Here is a sample of the results for two applications tested for compatibility with these updates:

 

 

MS12-005: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows Could Allow Remote Code Execution.

Issue1.png

MS12-006: Vulnerabilities in SSL/TLS Could Allow Information Disclosure.

Issue2.png

 

And here is a sample ChangeBASE Summary report for a sample database where the ChangeBASE Patch Impact team has run the latest Microsoft Updates against a small application portfolio:

patch tuesday jan 1.png

Testing Summary

MS12-001

Vulnerability in Windows Kernel Could Allow Security Feature Bypass (2644615)

MS12-002

Vulnerability in Windows Object Packager Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2603381)

MS12-003

Vulnerability in Windows Client/Server Run-time Subsystem Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (2646524)

MS12-004

Vulnerabilities in Windows Media Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2636391)

MS12-005

Vulnerability in Microsoft Windows Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2584146)

MS12-006

Vulnerability in SSL/TLS Could Allow Information Disclosure (2643584)

MS12-007

Vulnerability in AntiXSS Library Could Allow Information Disclosure (2607664)

patch jan.PNG

Security Update Detailed Summary

MS12-001

Vulnerability in Windows Kernel Could Allow Security Feature Bypass (2644615)

Description

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to bypass the SafeSEH security feature in a software application. An attacker could then use other vulnerabilities to leverage the structured exception handler to run arbitrary code. Only software applications that were compiled using Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003 can be used to exploit this vulnerability.

Payload

Ntdll.dll, Wntdll.dll, Updspapi.dll

Impact

Important - Security Feature Bypass

 

MS12-002

Vulnerability in Windows Object Packager Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2603381)

Description

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a legitimate file with an embedded packaged object that is located in the same network directory as a specially crafted executable file. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Payload

No specific files affected

Impact

Important - Remote Code Execution

 

MS12-003

Vulnerability in Windows Client/Server Run-time Subsystem Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (2646524)

Description

The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to an affected system and runs a specially crafted application. The attacker could then take complete control of the affected system and install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. This vulnerability can only be exploited on systems configured with a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean system locale.

Payload

Winsrv.dll, Updspapi.dll

Impact

Important - Elevation of Privilege

 

MS12-004

Vulnerabilities in Windows Media Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2636391)

Description

This security update resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted media file. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Payload

Mciseq.dll, Winmm.dll, Updspapi.dll

Impact

Critical - Remote Code Execution

 

MS12-005

Vulnerability in Microsoft Windows Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2584146)

Description

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file containing a malicious embedded ClickOnce application. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Payload

Packager.exe, Updspapi.dll

Impact

Important - Remote Code Execution

 

MS12-006

Vulnerability in SSL/TLS Could Allow Information Disclosure (2643584)

Description

This security update resolves a publicly disclosed vulnerability in SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0. This vulnerability affects the protocol itself and is not specific to the Windows operating system. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if an attacker intercepts encrypted web traffic served from an affected system. TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, and all cipher suites that do not use CBC mode are not affected.

Payload

Schannel.dll, Winhttp.dll, Updspapi.dll

Impact

Important - Information Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

MS12-007

Vulnerability in AntiXSS Library Could Allow Information Disclosure (2607664)

Description

This security update resolves one privately reported vulnerability in the Microsoft Anti-Cross Site Scripting (AntiXSS) Library. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a an attacker passes a malicious script to a website using the sanitization function of the AntiXSS Library. The consequences of the disclosure of that information depend on the nature of the information itself. Note that this vulnerability would not allow an attacker to execute code or to elevate the attacker's user rights directly, but it could be used to produce information that could be used to try to further compromise the affected system. Only sites that use the sanitization module of the AntiXSS Library are affected by this vulnerability.

Payload

No specific files affected

Impact

Important - Information Disclosure

 

*All results are based on a ChangeBASE Application Compatibility Lab's test portfolio of over 1,000 applications.

 

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Video: code quality

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Matt Peachey, vice president, Emea, Veracode - says eight out of 10 applications will be insecure. In this video he discusses why developers do not relate security to code quality. Peachey believes it is not just in-house code that may be insecure...do not trust suppliers. "You need to hold suppliers accountable.," he adds. "Do not assume that the software you buy from third parties is secure. It probably is not secure."


He says, "Organisations do not insist an application is secure - they should push this responsibility down to their suppliers"

Companies are poor at measuring quality. "How do you know you are getting better over time."

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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