Microsoft starts the new year with a January Security Bulletin Release of seven Security Bulletins. These seven bulletins cover at least 11 CVE. Three of the vulnerabilities need to be addressed immediately with two of the Bulletins. These three vulnerabilities effect XML Core Service components (MS13-001) that can be abused using Internet Explorer as a vector of attack, and a Print Spooler component (MS13-002) that could be abused once an attacker has infiltrated a network, as described in this Microsoft SRD post. This flaw is important to address for organizations that are victims of targeted attacks. Now that Pass-the-Hash techniques are becoming better understood and mitigated, attackers will look to lateral movement alternatives like these. So, while it’s doubtful that we would see a fast-spreading worm resulting from this one, but as with Ramnit, it’s important for small and medium businesses to understand what ports and services are exposed to the internet and avoid becoming a victim. Either way, these two Bulletins should be addressed immediately.
It’s interesting to note that Microsoft is attending to these vulnerabilities, even though they are not yet being publicly exploited according to the company.
Other Bulletins this month patch SCOM components, .NET, and OData Services, as well as a Windows kernel EoP effecting all versions of Windows and an interesting SSL bypass. SCOM is interesting because it is the Microsoft Security Center Operations Manager, and the patch isn’t available as it isn’t fully tested just yet. On one hand, Microsoft’s testing capabilities are unbelieveably complex and thorough, so it’s a surprise that this release isn’t delivered alongside the others. On the other hand, it’s an XSS vulnerability that would require some unusual scenarios to exploit, and the Internet Explorer XSS filter can be enable to mitigate the issue. So this one is a bit obscure to be widely hit. The .NET vulnerability set is a bit more dangerous, because these vulnerabilities can be exploited in combination via web browsers. These vulnerabilities effect versions 1.1 through 4.5 of the Microsoft .NET framework on all versions of Windows, including Windows Server 2012. And finally, OData (Open Data Protocol) services components support fairly newer network exchange protocols used in business and other backend applications as a part of the Windows Communication Framework Data Services. These services are simply available to a denial of service attack.
Finally, Microsoft is also patching a vulnerability affecting the integrity of SSL use. In today’s world of beat-up Certificate Authorities and ongoing cyber espionage, this one is interesting because it enables attackers to force a client system to use SSL version 2 instead of SSL version 3 or TLS, removing many of the newer, necessary security features supported in version 3/TLS that mitigate the weak encryption ciphers supported by v2. In other words, the vulnerability helps enable MiTM attackers to sniff traffic that was previously, reasonably, considered “safe” by its users. This patch follows up on the fix for the TURKTRUST related fraudulent certificate fix released a few days ago. It affects all versions of Windows, including Windows RT.