Upcoming Patch Tuesday to bring both relief and frustration

The November Patch Tuesday Advance Bulletin is out and I think everyone is breathing a sigh of both relief and frustration.

Relief because for the first time in a few months, this is a relatively straightforward Patch Tuesday, with fixes for most Windows versions, the ever-present IE roll up patch, and some Office components, but nothing esoteric or difficult to patch. No SharePoint plugins, no complicated .NET patching, no office extensions.

There is frustration because this round of patches does not include a fix for the recently published, exploited in the wild Office vulnerability described in Microsoft Security Advisory 2896666. However, there’s a fix it for that condition and the usual mitigations of deploying the EMET (see the advisory for details).

Of this month’s advisories, the three critical are bulletins 1, 2, and 3, which affect IE and most Windows versions. Bulletin 2 affects all supported Windows versions and requires a restart, so it’s definitely a common and loaded component. All of these will be top patching priorities.

Beyond that, bulletins 4 and 5 allow remote code execution and elevation of privilege respectively, but are not listed as critical and are probably thought to be harder to exploit than some others. Bulletins 6, 7 and 8 are information disclosure and denial of service, so if organizations have to choose, these are lower priority.

Author: Ross Barrett, Senior Manager, Security Engineering, Rapid7.