January Patch Tuesday 2017

Patch Tuesday January 2017 Infographic
January 2017 Patch Tuesday has ushered in a new year of Patch Tuesdays with a manageable number of updates.

Adobe has released update APSB17-01 for Acrobat and Reader, keeping in line with the pattern of releasing an update every two to three months. This update includes 29 vulnerabilities, most of which allow for remote code execution. You will want to make sure this update is applied in a timely manner.

As expected, there is a Flash Player update. As always, when there is a Flash Player update, you need to make sure to update all instances of Flash on systems, meaning Flash plug-ins for IE, Chrome and Firefox as well. Some of these will auto update; others may take some prodding before they will update. This is why having a solution that can scan for all four variations is critical to make sure you have plugged all the vulnerabilities in your environment.

Microsoft has released a total of four bulletins, two of which are critical and publicaly disclosed. Microsoft is resolving 15 unique vulnerabilities this month, 12 of which come from the Adobe Flash update. It’s interesting to note that there is no rollup for Windows 8.1 or Server 2012 this month.

Other than Microsoft and Adobe, there are a few other updates available if you are using Foxit Reader, Skype, etc. Although there several of the Microsoft vulnerabilities have been publicaly disclosed, none of the them have been exploited and there are no zero days.

This could be the calm before the storm. We have not seen this light of a Patch Tuesday since January of 2014. Next month you should expect some adjustments and a heavier Patch Tuesday drop as Microsoft changes methodologies.

This is the last Patch Tuesday that Microsoft will be using security bulletins. After January 10, Microsoft will no longer be publishing traditional security bulletins as individual webpages, but instead will only be publishing security update information to the new Security Update Guide. I’m sure there are many questions about what this means and how it will affect everyone so, if you have not already seen the FAQ put together by Microsoft, I have provided a link here.

As always, we will be running our monthly Patch Tuesday webinar where we will go deeper into the bulletins released and recommendations to prioritize what updates need to be put in place sooner than others. Make sure to sign up for the January Patch Tuesday webinar to catch playbacks of previous months and get access to our infographics and presentations to give you the information you need going into your monthly maintenance.

January 2017 Patch Tuesday Forecast – Shavlik

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Goodbye 2016; Hello 2017!

We have survived another year and what a year that was.

As we start off 2017, I am sure most of you have already heard about the joining of forces between LANDESK and Heat Software to further the expertise stronghold on security and patching. This marrying of the minds comes just in time for those who have not yet picked a new year’s resolution.  Now is the time to make a resolution to increase the health of your security posture and patch your systems regularly.

Even though there are no known zero days or hints of nasty exploits on the horizon, we all know that it is just a matter of time before someone will find something to hack and expose potential vulnerabilities. So, with that in mind, let’s start the year off with good habits and make sure we are following the steps to better Security Hygiene now that the holiday fun and distractions are behind us.

Steps to Better Security Hygiene

  • Make sure you have sanitized incoming email with junk mail and phishing filters. Remember that user targeted vulnerability is where some of the highest risk lies.
  • Make sure you have sanitized the machines and devices of users who have come into contact with public WiFi while traveling in and out of the office and private secured networks. Since users will likely browse the internet, open email with attachments, and in general be exposed to potential attack vectors daily, it is important to sanitize their machines with good signature, non-signature, and behavioral threat assessments.  Remember that signature based threat assessment alone is not enough anymore.
  • Make sure your systems are frequently patched, both the OS and software, and make use of least privilege rules and proper application control. Remember that preventative security measures can mitigate or eliminate 85% of the threats in today’s market.

Honorable Mentions

Chrome announced at the end of 2016 that beginning in the new year they will be identifying web pages as “Not Secure” if the page includes login or credit card fields AND the page is not served using HTTPS. For additional information on this announcement, see the following article posted on zdnet.com.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/chrome-will-begin-marking-http-pages-as-non-secure/

Your Patch Tuesday Forecast

Based on the trends we saw in 2016, the January 2017 Patch Tuesday will likely include updates for the following:

From Microsoft we are likely looking at around 1-4 installable packages:

  • OS and IE will definitely have multiple updates, but they will come in a single installable package under the new servicing model. Vista would be the only exception to this change as it still receives individual bulletin updates.
  • Office is likely since there were updates consistently pretty much every month in 2016.

From Adobe you can expect 1-3 updates:

  • Adobe typically tries to release Flash Player on Patch Tuesday and has done so pretty consistently all of 2016, so expect that update.
  • Adobe Reader and Acrobat both released an update back in October of 2016 and have been pretty consistently having an update every 2-3 months this year. Those two are a high possibility this month since they did not release last month.

From Chrome you may have 1 update this month:

  • Chrome released a beta version after last Patch Tuesday making it likely there could be an update on or around Patch Tuesday this month.

Total Update Accumulation 3-8 updates for Patch Tuesday next week.

As always, catch our Patch Tuesday blog and commentary next Tuesday and sign up for our Patch Tuesday Webinar next Wednesday, January 11th as we delve deeper into the bulletins and vulnerabilities resolved on Patch Tuesday.

12 Beers of Christmas 2016 Edition

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Happy holiday’s everyone! This marks year three of our annual 12 Beers of Christmas blog post where the team gives you recommendations of their favorite beers from 2016. This is a tradition that actually started from a now nine-year practice of doing a beer exchange in our office instead of cookies or Secret Santa. So for all you beer fans out there, here is the 2016 edition of the Shavlik 12 Beers of Christmas. Enjoy!

Brent, Software Engineer
Beer recommendation: Black Sheep Best Bitter
Style: Bitter
ABV: 3.8%
Description: Brent spent a bit of time across the pond this year after LANDESK acquired AppSense. “It was my nightly beer one trip to England during an AppSense visit. Very solid English bitter that paired well with any of the pub food.”

A well hopped, light golden session bitter with a distinctive, dry, refreshing taste enjoyed through a rich creamy head. Brewed in traditional cast iron and copper vessels using the finest ingredients.

Mark, Software Engineer
Beer Recommendation: Able BLK WLF Stout
Style: Stout
ABV: 3.8
IBU: 32
Description: It is a coffee forward stout with a satisfying finish. The best part is since it as a low ABV at 3.8%, I can have a few without having to rely on my friends to carry me home.

Clear dark brown, large creamy tan head, good retention. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malts, piney hops. The taste is citrus, roasted malts, chocolate. Medium bodied, lingering bitterness.

Neil, Manager, Territory Sales
Beer Recommendation: Weihenstephaner Original
Style: Helles
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 21
Description: A cheeky little number from the oldest brewery in the world. Not sure if you can get this in the US but the brewery is a 15 minute drive from Munich airport. It is worth the trip!!

A good beer takes its time. The long storage makes our yellow bright lager, “Original”, a flavourful beer enjoyed with fine poured, white foam. With a mild hoppy note and its pleasant fresh spicy taste, it goes very well with salads, poultry, stews or with a hearty snack. Brewed according to our centuries-old brewing tradition on the Weihenstephan hill.

Robert, Senior Product Marketing Manager 
Beer Recommendation: Samuel Adams Nitro White Ale
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 15
Description: From America’s largest Craft Brewer, and from the city (Boston) known for more than just the revolution of craft beer. This beer is smooth as silk, refreshingly cold, and a joy to consume year round. Crisp enough for the Summer, hearty enough to keep you warm in Winter. I enjoyed this guy while watching summer sunsets over Lake Winnipesaukee in NH this past summer.

Brad, Software Engineer
Beer Recommendation: Fitger’s Big Boat Oatmeal Stout
Style: Stout – Oatmeal
ABV: 6.6%
IBU: 45
Description: Good stout, nice chocolate and coffee combination for sipping on MN winter days.  Enough alcohol to keep you warm and toasty on the inside but not stumble out of the bar and die from hypothermia when you slip and fall on the ice.

Simon, Chief Technologist
Beer Recommendation: Peroni Original
Style: Lager – Pale
ABV: 4.7%
Description:  Served at Ultra cold temperature and great for the British summer when we get them. Added benefit is that it doesn’t seem to cause those dreadful headaches I seem to get more of as I get older. The downside is that its currently one of the most expensive you can buy.

Ken, QA Director
Beer recommendation: Surly Gose (pronounced “Go-zuh”)
Style: Kettle Sour Ale
ABV: 5.3%
Description:  Just had this at the brewery during our holiday party.  A great sour beer with a crisp taste with little surprise extra tartness in the end.  Pairs extremely well with co-workers.

The base beer for our series of kettle souref ales, surly Gose had has a light, crisp body with a refreshing tartness and a fleeting saltiness.

Randy, Manager, Software Engineering
Beer Recommendation:
Style: IPA
ABV: 7%
IBU: 74
Description: I’m going to put in my official favorite for the year as Fulton Batch 300.  I’m not sure how widely available it is, but it is a fantastic West Coast style IPA brewed right here in Minneapolis.  Like many great beers, it was originally a limited edition but was so popular they decided to brew it year-round.  It is very hoppy, but has a nice balance and smooth finish.

Batch 300 is built on a base of Weyermann Pilsner malt, and heavily hopped from start to finish with Mosaic, one of our favorite American hop varieties. At 74 IBU and just under 7% ABV, Batch 300 will delight your palate without wearing it out.

Frank, Software Engineer
Beer Recommendation:
Style: Porter – Peanut Butter
ABV: 5.3%
Description: Smells like peanuts, tastes likes peanuts and beer.  When you want a peanut butter sandwich and you also want a beer, but you can’t be bothered to get both: this is the beer for you.  Dark color with a nice full head.  Really good on nitro if you can get it.

Brian, QA Engineer
Beer Recommendation: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7%
Description: Bright, citrusy IPAs are becoming increasingly common and I am not complaining. The Sculpin IPA is hopped at five separate stages and has notes of apricot, peach, mango, and lemon. This award winning IPA is then complimented with grapefruit, creating a flavorful and surprisingly drinkable IPA. A perfect beer to compliment warm summer days or the bitter cold winters of Minnesota.

Derek, Manager, Cloud Operations
Beer Recommendation: Surly Darkness (2016)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9-12% (Depending on the year)
IBU: 85
Description: Knocks you on your a$$!

This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier.

Chris, Manager, Product Management
Beer Recommendation: O’Town Triple
Style: Belgian Triple
ABV: 7.4%
IBU: 27
Description: From the fine brewer at Lamada Brewing comes fine example of a Belgian abbey style ale.  Not as dark as a St Bernardus ABT 12 or Chimay Grand Reserve.   Has a fruity aroma and complex flavors with a mix of malty, slightly bitter, and a fruity sweetness.  Actually this is my own home brew and a recipe I am continuing to perfect.  I just brewed batch three this fall and it should be ready to drink sometime around June!  Perfection takes time.  If you really want to try some you will have to come visit me in June.

Honorable Mentions:

Joe, Technical Writer
Beer Recommendation: Grain Belt Nordeast
Style: Amber Lager/Vienna
ABV: 4.7%
Description: For anyone wishing to experience some local Minnesota flavor, I highly recommend Grain Belt Nordeast. It’s a great tasting beer that meets my main requirements: it is reasonably priced and almost always available wherever I go. Unlike most of the other beers you’ll see on this list, there’s no need to take out a loan or drive 100 miles to an obscure liquor store to purchase it. And that makes Nordeast satisfying in a number of different ways.

John, Channel Account Manager
Beer Recommendation: George Killian’s Irish Red
Style: American Amber\Red Lager
ABV: 4.9%
IBU: 14
Description: A full and well-balanced American Amber / Red Lager style beer, and honestly, my go to if I’m hanging out with relatives or friends who don’t really enjoy craft beer and would rather depend on boring domestics.  Like an IPA, has a body more similar to a Scotch ale than a lager or porter, offering a blend of dark fruit, caramel, bread and toast swells in a tight bouquet. While it’s aroma is complex, it’s easy on the tongue.  A malt-forward profile flows across the palate with easy transitions:  Light bready malts pick up hints of toast, and then caramel and dark fruit as it washes back. A quiet bitterness counters the sweetness and guides this straightforward beer to a refreshingly clean finish.  Joyeaux Noël !

The Peanut Gallery (there is always a comedian in the bunch.  This year we have two.) :

Brian, QA Engineer (his first attempt that was rejected)
Beer Recommendation: Camo Black Ice High Gravity Lager
Style: Malt Liquor
ABV: 10.5%
Description: The Camo Beer Company in Lacrosse WI describes this beer as “Ice brewed for extra smooth taste”. This true star of the north is best served in a paper bag. At a size of 24 ounces, an ABV 10.5%, and a price around $2 it is truly a symbol of efficiency. Who needs hydration from six and a half 3.2 beers when you can fit the same punch into one fine paper bag?

Rob, VP Engineering (remember 2014 when he recommended Coors?  Yeah this one is worse)
Beer Recommendation: Hamms
Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 4.7%
Description: If it looks like a Coors, smells like a Coors, and tastes like a Coors then it must be a Coors….except it’s not. It’s Hamm’s American Lager and it doesn’t smell like Coors… in fact, it has no aroma at all.  But for days when you feel like punishing yourself, grab a can… or 48 of these.  This beer is very much a synthesizer of taste and takes on the taste of whatever you are pairing it with making it the perfect beer to pair with any meal that you like the taste of… be warned though, if you are using it to wash the taste of a burnt garlic meatloaf out of your mouth, all you have done is captured and amplified that tragic flavor.  I hear if you mix a little Mio in there though, you can work your way right past that.

Happy Holidays – New Updates for MAC OS

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It is the holiday season and with that comes presents for the MAC OS in the form of updates for a number of issues, including several denial of service.

Released on December 13th, Apple has new security updates for macOS Sierra 10.12.2, El Capitan 2016-003 and Yosemite 2016-007.

The winner for most CVE updates for this release is macOS Sierra 10.12.2 with 71 CVEs to address a wide variety of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities include 8 denial of service issues

  • CVE-2016-7609 : AppleGraphicsPowerManagement  – Improved input validation has been added to address the possible impact of a local user being able to cause a system denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7605 : Bluetooth – Improved input validation has been added to address the possible impact of an application being able to cause a system denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7604 : CoreCapture – Improved state management has been added to address the possible impact of a local user being able to cause a system denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7603 : CoreStorage – Improved input validation has been added to address the possible impact of a local user being able to cause a system denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7667 : CoreText – Improved validation of overlapping ranges has been added to address the possible processing of a maliciously crafted string being able to cause a denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7615 : Kernel  – Improved memory handling has been added to address the possible impact of a local user being able to cause a system denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-6304 : LibreSSL and OpenSSL – Improved memory handling in unbounded OCSP growth has been added to address the possible impact of an attacker with a privileged network position being able to cause a denial of service.
  • CVE-2016-7636 : Security – Verification of OCSP revocation status after CA validation and limiting the number of OCSP requests per certificate has been added to address the possible impact of an attacker with a privileged network position being able to cause a denial of service.

This security update addresses memory corruption and shared memory issues, use after free issues, validation and system privilege issues on top of the denial of service critical vulnerabilities.

New security content is also available for Safari 10.0.2 which is made up of 25 CVEs to address vulnerabilities focusing on arbitrary code execution in both Safari Reader and WebKit. Given the number of user targeted vulnerabilities, it would be a good idea to look at installing this security update sooner rather than later.

With the pending end to 2016, now is the perfect time to start a new habit of patching your MAC regularly and having a more secure 2017.

December Patch Tuesday 2016

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December Patch Tuesday has a flurry of exploits and public disclosures. Coming in to Patch Tuesday, we already had one zero day from Mozilla (CVE-2016-9079) which updated on November 30. Today, Adobe released nine bulletins, including a critical update for Adobe Flash that resolves a zero day (CVE-2016-7892). Microsoft is updating Flash for IE and also has five publicly disclosed vulnerabilities being resolved.

Starting with Firefox, Mozilla announced an update on November 30 that resolved a zero day in SVG Animation. This was identified in attacks targeting unmasking users of the Tor anonymity network. In an article from ZDNet, there was speculation from researchers that this exploit was very similar to an exploit known to have been used by the FBI back in 2013 that was used to unmask IP addresses of Tor users.

Today Mozilla is releasing version 50.1, which includes the Zero Day fix from 50.0.2, which released a couple weeks ago. If you have not already done so, ensure that Firefox is on your priority list this month.

Adobe has released nine bulletins today, but only one is rated as critical. I am sure most of you have guessed that it is for Flash Player and also includes a zero day.  APSB16-39 resolves 17 total vulnerabilities and the exploited CVE-2016-7892, which has been used in limited targeted attacks against Windows systems running Internet Explorer (32-bit).

According to an article from Threat Post, analysts from the Google Threat Analysis Group discovered the vulnerability and privately disclosed details to Adobe. Adobe did not have details around the specific attack and the Google researches have not disclosed any more detail publicly at this time.

As always, when there is a Flash Player update, you need to make sure to update all instances of Flash on systems. This means Flash plug-ins for IE, Chrome and Firefox. Some of these will auto update, others may take some prodding before they will update. This is why having a solution that can scan for all four variations is critical to make sure you have plugged all the vulnerabilities in your environment.

On to Microsoft. Microsoft has released a total of 12 bulletins, six of which are critical. Microsoft is resolving 42 unique vulnerabilities this month.

Aside from Flash for IE, Microsoft does not have any additional zero days to report, but they do have several public disclosures. A public disclosure means that enough detail has been released to the public to give a threat actor a jump start in developing an exploit. This puts their vulnerabilities at higher risk of exploit.

MS16-144 is a critical update for Internet Explorer that resolves eight vulnerabilities, three of which are publicly disclosed (CVE-2016-7282, CVE-2016-7281, CVE-2016-7202). Many of the vulnerabilities resolved in this update target a user through specially hosted websites and ActiveX controls and through taking advantage of user-provided content or advertisements or compromised websites.

MS16-145 is a critical update for the Edge browser that resolves 11 vulnerabilities, three of which are publicly disclosed (CVE-2016-7206, CVE-2016-7282, CVE-2016-7281). Similar to the IE vulnerabilities, many of the vulnerabilities resolved in this update target a user through specially hosted websites and ActiveX controls and through taking advantage of user-provided content or advertisements or compromised websites.

MS16-146 and MS16-147 are both rated as critical and affect components of the Windows Operating System. Both resolved vulnerabilities that would target a user and can be mitigated by running as less than a full administrator on the system.

MS16-148 is a critical update for Office, Sharepoint and Web Apps that resolves 16 vulnerabilities. Many of the vulnerabilities resolved in this update can target a user through specially crafted files. An attacker can also host specially crafted web content to exploit many of these vulnerabilities. CVE-2016-7298 is also able to use the Preview Pane as an attack vector.

MS16-155 is an important update for .Net Framework and resolves one vulnerability. Although only rated as important, this bulletin resolves a vulnerability that has been publicly disclosed (CVE-2016-7270), putting it at higher risk of being exploited.

There are additional bulletins from Adobe and Microsoft this month, but these are the bulletins that should be on your priority list for December.

As always, we will be running our monthly Patch Tuesday webinar, where we will go deeper into the bulletins released and recommendations to prioritize what updates need to be put in place sooner than others. Make sure to sign up for the December Patch Tuesday webinar to catch playbacks of previous months and get access to our infographics and presentations to give you the information you need going into your monthly maintenance. www.shavlik.com/Patch-Tuesday

 

 

 

 

December Patch Tuesday Forecast

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December is here and it finally snowed in Minnesota! In fact, we may get four to eight inches this weekend. So, my Patch Tuesday Forecast — like winter up here in MN was a little delayed — but better late than never! So get out your snow shovels and let’s dig in. There is already a little accumulation with a zero day hitting in late November. If you haven’t already done so, update your Mozilla Firefox browser!

On the Horizon

In the last week of November, it became clear to many security researchers that there was a flaw in Mozilla’s browsers and in TOR, a browser based on Firefox. CVE-2016-9079 is a critical use-after-free vulnerability affecting the SVG Animation component in Firefox. Researchers, such as Malwarebytes, have evaluated the vulnerability and have explained that the goal of this vulnerability “is to leak user data with as minimal of a footprint as possible. There’s no malicious code downloaded to disk, only shell code is run directly from memory.”

Although the observed exploits were only targeting windows, the vulnerability exists on Linux and Mac platforms as well. The exploit code also seems very similar to another Tor exploit used by the FBI as an investigative technique to track down child pornography suspects. It is not currently known where this code originated, but it’s a good example of a user-targeted vulnerability.

The Mozilla update became available on November 30 for Firefox, Firefox ESR and Thunderbird. If you are already caught up, you will want to make sure you include Mozilla in your updates this month.

Security Tip of the Month

December is also getting well into the cold and flu season, so this month’s security tip will follow the theme of security hygiene. I just returned from Las Vegas from the Gartner Data Center Conference where I attended a session by Neil MacDonald on security for cloud workloads. One of the things Neil mentioned was staring with a solid foundation, which he referred to as operations hygiene. I’m going to expand that out to a broader security hygiene message.

To stay well in the cold and flu season, you need to ensure you are getting rest and washing your hands, especially after coming into contact with someone who is sick or areas frequented by many people. You need to keep up on your vitamin C and drinking liquids in general. Similarly, with security we need to do the same.

  • Wash your hands – Make sure you have sanitized incoming email with junk mail and phishing filters.
  • Use some sanitizer after coming into contact with highly public areas – Your users who travel in and out of the company will come into contact with public Wi-Fi. Users will browse the internet, open email with attachments and, in general, be exposed to potential attack vectors daily. Make sure their machines are getting sanitized with good signature, non-signature and behavioral threat assessments. Signature-based threat assessment alone is not enough anymore.
  • Get your daily dose of vitamin C – Preventive security measures can defend against 80 percent of the threats in today’s market. Make sure you give your systems their shot of vitamin C in the form of patching the OS and software, use of least privilege rules and proper application control.

Your Patch Tuesday Forecast

Based on what trends we have seen this year I think it’s safe to say the following:

From Microsoft, we are expecting around two to four installable packages:

  • OS and IE will definitely have multiple updates, but they will come in a single installable package under the new servicing model. Vista would be the only exception to this change as it still receives individual bulletin updates.
  • Office has been very consistent this year with updates pretty much every month. The question is will this be a single update or a couple for Office, SharePoint and Web Apps. I would say one for office and a 50 percent chance of SharePoint/Web Apps.
  • .Net is also likely this month. .Net updates hit five of six patch Tuesdays in the first half of the year, and have been about every other in the later half.
  • You can also expect an IE update for Flash Player.

From Adobe, you can expect one to three updates:

  • Adobe typically tries to release Flash Player on Patch Tuesday and has done so pretty consistently all year, so expect that update.
  • Adobe Reader and Acrobat both released an update back in October and have been pretty consistently having an update every two to three months this year. Those two are a possibility this month.

From Mozilla, you can expect one update this month:

  • Mozilla’s update calendar is reflecting an update for Tuesday.

Total Update Accumulation four to eight updates for Patch Tuesday next week.

As always, catch our Patch Tuesday blog and commentary next Tuesday and sign up for our Patch Tuesday Webinar next Wednesday, December 14th as we delve deeper into the bulletins and vulnerabilities resolved on Patch Tuesday.

 

 

 

Updates for MAC including recent Zero Day – Are you caught up?

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It’s December; let’s not forget about the MAC community and the recent updates available for the MAC OS.

Since the release of macOS Sierra 10.12.1, Security Update 2016-002 El Capitan, and Security Update 2016-006 Yosemite on the 24th of October 2016, there have been a number of updates to both Apple and 3rd-party products.

Here are some highlights to consider and possible updates you may want to verify you have.

November 30th – Zero Day Critical update CVE-2016-9079 for a use-after-free vulnerability in SVG Animation in Mozilla Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird allowing attackers to execute arbitrary malicious code on a target machine.

Although there have only been documented active exploits on computers running Windows, the vulnerability is present in the Mac OS X version of the browser.

November 29th – Update CVE-2016-4780 for a null pointer de-reference issue in macOS Sierra 10.12 Thunderbolt allowing applications to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. This update includes improved input validation.

November 27th – 2 Updates for macOS Sierra 10.12:

  • AppleMobileFileIntegrity had a validation issue where a signed executable could substitute code with the same team ID. Update CVE-2016-7584 added additional validation.

  • FontParser had a buffer overflow in the handling of font files where a maliciously crafted font file could lead to arbitrary code execution. Update CVE-2016-4688 added improved bounds checking.

November 14th – Update CVE-2016-7580 for an issue in macOS Sierra 10.12 Mail where a malicious website could cause a denial of service. This update includes improved URL handling.

November 8th – Critical update APSB16-37 for Adobe Flash Player.  This update contains 9 different CVEs to address a vulnerability that could allow malicious native code to execute without a user being aware.

 

“Do you know the way to San Jose?”

Another cyberattack targets the San Fran Transport Agency.

san fran

Normally the 181 Express to San Jose will cost you about $10 and take about 1 hour and 42 mins. But this weekend you could travel for free, thanks to another demonstration of cybercrime—this one reconfirming the dangers of ransomware and its potentially devastating effects when used against public service networks.

In this case, screens that would normally show train departure and arrival times displayed a message informing users they had been hacked, and that MUNI, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency, had one more day to pay the bitcoin ransom equivalent to $73K.

While it’s not yet known who’s responsible for the attack, nor exactly how they did it, numerous reports suggest the hacker used the email address previously linked to the Mamba ransomware strain first seen in September 2016.

mamba

A screen at a Muni train station shows the malware message from HDDCryptor. (Click for image source.)

Assuming this attack is linked or similar to Mamba, it’s worth looking at in a little more detail.

Mamba, named after the deadly snake, takes a different approach to encrypting files than other ransomware strains by trying to encrypt the entire drive—not just your data files. This means it’s not just your files but the whole OS, including the master file table, that could get encrypted.

Mamba uses the freeware DiskCryptor software to encrypt your files. It’s highly likely that unaware users are clicking on targeted emails, which download both scripts and the tools to encrypt the drive.

This type of ransomware is perfect for an attack on an organization like MUNI. Why? Unlike other attacks we have seen (like in healthcare), where the encrypted data and personal files are worth big money on the black market, knocking operating systems out at a public transportation agency brings operations to a screaming halt, causing service disruption, revenue loss, and a ransomware fine well worth paying. And what commuters don’t think about while they are enjoying a free ride is that the lost revenue and ransom costs are more than likely going to be recouped through increased commuter costs.

So, in the long run, everyone but the hacker loses out in the aftermath of an attack. That’s why organizations must do more to prevent attacks rather than simply detecting them.

Wherever you are in the world, you probably have organizations, governments, and security authorities providing recommendations on how to protect your organization from threats like Mamba. The FBI, the Australian Signals Directorate, the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance (CESG), and the SANS institute are just some examples.

These experts all agree that to protect against attack you should:

  • Patch the OS
  • Patch apps (not just Microsoft ones)
  • Remove local administrative privileges from the desktop estate
  • Implement application control or whitelisting to allow only the known good

Shavlik offers a solution that addresses all four of these prevention approaches: Shavlik Patch patches the OS and third-party applications, and Application Manager for SCCM removes local administrative privileges and application control.

November Patch Tuesday 2016

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It’s Election Day! I hope you all voted or will be hitting the polls soon, as this election round has been one for the history books. November 8 also happens to be Patch Tuesday. While this is notably of far less concern than hitting the polls today, Patch Tuesday will be delivering updates from Microsoft, Adobe and Google this month and will, unfortunately, still require your attention tomorrow and in the weeks to come.

Microsoft has released 14 bulletins, six of which are rated as critical, resolving 68 unique vulnerabilities.  Two of the vulnerabilities have been exploited in the wild (Zero Days), and three of the bulletins contain public disclosures.

First off, we will get a little closure on the Adobe Flash/Microsoft Zero Day that was identified in October and to which Flash released an update on October 26 which resolved CVE-2016-7855. Microsoft has resolved CVE-2016-7255 as part of MS16-135.

Adobe has released another Flash Player update (which is rated as a priority one and resolves nine CVEs. If you haven’t already pushed the Flash update from October 26, ( ) this will be a high priority along with MS16-135.

Microsoft has a second Zero Day vulnerability this month (CVE-2016-7256). MS16-132 resolves an open type font vulnerability that can allow an attacker to remotely execute code. An attacker can target a user to exploit this vulnerability by crafting a document designed to exploit the vulnerability or by hosting a specially crafted website designed to exploit the vulnerability. The attacker would need to convince a user to click on or open the specially crafted content, but that’s really not a significant challenge. This bulletin should also be a high priority this month.

There are a number of public disclosures this month across several bulletins, which means enough information has been leaked to the public to give an attacker a head start on developing exploit code.  This increases the risk of exploit occurring for these vulnerabilities so we raise the risk level and priority of bulletins that contain public disclosures. See our Patch Tuesday infographics for more detail.

  • MS16-129 for the Edge browser resolves CVE-2016-7199 and CVE-2016-7209
  • MS16-135 for Windows resolves CVE-2016-7255 (which has already been exploited)
  • MS16-142 for Internet Explorer resolves CVE-2016-7199

Google Chrome went to beta last Wednesday. That along with another Flash Player update means we should expect a Chrome update in the foreseeable future. There is a chance it will come tonight, but it’s more likely to come in the next week. As always you will want to be sure that you have updated Chrome to support the latest Flash Player Plug-In.

If you have not already done so, you will want to make sure to include the Oracle updates from their Q4 CPU that released in October. This included a Critical Java JRE update as well as many other Oracle products.

November also marks the second month of the new servicing model. Here is what you should expect for actual packages to be deployed this month.

The Security Only Bundle (SB16-002) will include the following bulletins: MS16-130, MS16-131, MS16-132, MS16-134, MS16-135, MS16-137, MS16-138, MS16-139, MS16-140 and MS16-142.

The monthly rollup (CR16-002) will include the following bulletins in addition to quality fixes and previous months’ updates: MS16-130, MS16-131, MS16-132, MS16-134, MS16-135, MS16-137, MS16-138, MS16-139, MS16-140 and MS16-142.

As always, we will be running our monthly Patch Tuesday webinar where we will go deeper into the bulletins released and recommendations to prioritize what updates need to be put in place sooner than others. Make sure to sign up for the November Patch Tuesday webinar to catch playbacks of previous months and get access to our infographics and presentations to give you the information you need going into your monthly maintenance. www.shavlik.com/Patch-Tuesday

 

November Patch Tuesday Forecast

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Since October Patch Tuesday there has been a lot of activity. Oracle released their quarterly CPU including an update for Java JRE, Adobe resolved a Zero Day in Flash Player, our tip of the month, and a quick look at what to expect next week as Patch Tuesday hits.

On the Horizon

Actually more of a continuation from last month. On October 17th Oracle released their quarterly CPU including an update for Java JRE resolving seven vulnerabilities. All seven are remotely executable without the need for authentication and three of these have a CVSS score of 9.6. Java was actually on the lower end of total vulnerabilities addressed in an individual Oracle product for this CPU.  Ensure to include this update in your November testing if you have not already deployed it out.

Later in the month Adobe released a Critical Update for Flash Player resolving a Zero Day vulnerability (CVE-2016-7855). On October 26th Adobe released the update for Flash Player (APSB16-36) which started the clock for all the other vendors using the Adobe Flash Plug-In. When a Flash update occurs the plug-ins for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome also need to be updated.

Firefox uses the NPAPI version of Flash which was also released on the 26th.  The update for Flash for IE (MS16-128) released on October 27th plugging the Flash vulnerability. Google Chrome has two install options for Flash, one which relies on Chrome updating.  If you are using the Pepper Plug-In it was released on October 26th.  If you are using the traditional plug-in, this requires Google Chrome to be updated which occurred on November 1st.

In October, Microsoft changed their servicing model for pre-Windows 10 systems. I covered this extensively in a previous blog post, but there is a little ambiguity with Server 2016’s servicing model options. In a blog post from Microsoft they talk about a Security Only and a Security Quality option each month. This statement specifically caused several people to ask me some questions about how exactly Microsoft is handling updates on Server 2016.

“You can then have the flexibility to choose the security only update, or the quality update to build your patch management strategy around.”

The reality right now is Server 2016 updates are exactly like Windows 10. Cumulative bundles that include all updates that came before.  It will be interesting to see if a Security Only option does make itself available in November or sometime in the near future.  I expect a number of Microsoft customers would appreciate Security Only as an option for Server 2016.

Patch Management Tip of the Month

Exceptions: You can never push all patches. There is always an update that will conflict with business critical apps which cause exceptions. Documenting these exceptions and the reason they occurred is very important, but documenting an exception is just the beginning.

With each exception you are increasing risk. Each exception is an exposure that will potentially allow malware or ransomware into your environment or allows a threat actor to gain a foothold or move closer to proprietary information or user data.  With an exception you should also identify mitigating steps to reduce the risk. This may come in many forms, but here are some examples:

  • Least Privilege Rules will often mitigate the impact if an attacker is able to exploit a vulnerability. If you take a look at our Patch Tuesday infographics on our Patch Tuesday page you will see a column labeled “Privilege Management Mitigates Impact”.  These vulnerabilities will only gain the attacker equal rights as the user who is exploited.  If they are a full Administrator the attacker gains pretty much full access to the system. If they are running reduced privileges then the attacker must use an escalation of privilege vulnerability to gain sufficient permissions to do more.
  • Application Control will allow you to control what applications can be installed or run on a system and can effectively block most malware, ransomware, and other forms of attack. Application control can take many forms like Whitelisting or Blacklisting. These would be static application controls. More dynamic forms would include Trusted Ownership or Trusted Vendor rules. These are significantly easier to implement and maintain and also allow you to more easily rollout an effective Application Control Policy. The dynamic approaches are less commonly found, but we have a solution that can help there.
  • Containerization can effectively contain the more highly vulnerable user experiences like browsing the web and accessing email. Anything that occurs during these user experiences happens in a virtual container. If you have an exception on the system that is exposed by a phishing attack or drive by download the malicious payload whether a malvertising attack, ransomware, or some other form of malware would execute in the container and be separated from the physical system. Close the container (Browser or email, etc) and the threat goes away.

There are many other strategies to reduce exceptions from exposing too much risk like moving the sensitive application into a virtual environment and locking down access to that system to only require users, but this gives you some ideas. With every exception we recommend documenting the reason why it was made and the additional steps taken to reduce risk to the system.

Your Patch Tuesday Forecast

We are less than a week away from Patch Tuesday and as you can see there is a significant buildup of issues to deal with already. I would forecast that the 3rd party front is going to be lighter than normal for Patch Tuesday and we can expect an average workload from Microsoft on the order of ten or so bulletins total being released.

As always, join us for our Monthly Patch Tuesday Webinar next Wednesday November 9th as we delve deeper into the bulletins and vulnerabilities resolved on Patch Tuesday.