October 2, 2014

Microsoft updates Windows 8 and Internet Explorer but comes under critisim for poor Windows Defender performance

(LiveHacking.Com) – Microsoft has released six bulletins to address multiple vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows Shell, .NET Framework, Windows Kernel-Mode drivers, Excel, Internet Information Services (IIS), and cumulative security updates for Internet Explorer as part of  November’s Patch Tuesday.

As expected, four of the bulletins are ranked as Critical, one is Important, and the other one is rated as Moderate. Microsoft are suggesting that customers focus on the following two Critical level patches:

  • MS12-071 (Internet Explorer): This bulletin addresses three privately disclosed issues, none of which are currently known to be used in the wild. Successful exploitation of these issues could result in code execution with the current user’s privileges. These issues do not affect Internet Explorer 10.
  • MS12-075 (Windows Kernel): This security update addresses three privately reported issues, none of which are currently known to be used in the wild. This bulletin affects all supported versions of Microsoft Windows, including Windows 8. The most severe issue could result in remote code execution if an attacker is able to lure a user to a website with a maliciously crafted TrueType font file embedded. The patch fixes the vulnerabilities by correcting the way that the Windows kernel-mode drivers handle objects in memory.

Another issue that affects Windows 8 is MS12-072 (Vulnerabilities in Windows Shell Could Allow Remote Code Execution). The patch fixes two privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user browses to a specially crafted briefcase in Windows Explorer.

Without these latest patches the affected Microsoft products (including Windows 8) are vulnerable to attack and could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code remotely, operate with elevated privileges, or access sensitive information.

Windows 8 and Windows Defender

Microsoft’s patch come a few days after anti-virus company Bitdefender released information about the quality of Windows Defender, the built-in security application for Windows 8. According to Bitdefender 61 viruses, out of a total of 385, were able to infect a computer running Windows 8 with the Windows Defender application security enabled.

To set a baseline, Bitdefender conducted tests on Windows 7 and Windows 8 with the built-in antivirus disabled. It seems that without any anti-malware protection both operating systems are equally susceptible. Of the 385 viruses, 234 successfully infected Windows and continued to run until the machine was cleaned with Bitdefender. What this baseline test showed is that Windows 8 isn’t inherently more secure than Windows 7.

Bitdefender however acknowledged that Windows 8 did bring some new security features but running antivirus software is essential.

 

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