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