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Microsoft Patch Tuesday

On Tuesday, December 13, Microsoft released fixes to address more than 70 security issues, including a previously disclosed privilege elevation flaw in the Windows 11 DirectX graphics component (CVE-2022-44710) and a Windows SmartScreen security feature bypass vulnerability (CVE-2022-44698) that is being actively exploited. The bypass vulnerability has been exploited by Magniber ransomware threat actors. Seven of the vulnerabilities addressed in this month’s release are rated critical.

Note

  • Note that this will be the last (or next to last) patch Tuesday for Window 8.1. In case you still have any 8.1 systems hanging around in your network, try to have them upgraded to Windows 10/11.
  • I have to remind myself that SmartScreen is the service that detects a document is from the Internet and disables features until the user indicates it’s secure, so kind of a big deal. Add that to CVE-2022-41076 – a PowerShell remote code execution flaw, I’m clicking install right now, but wait there is more – there is a spoofing bug in Outlook, which could allow an attacker to appear as a trusted user, so your attached word docs are trusted when they should not be. The holiday season makes it tough to get good regression testing, and often people are out with systems shutdown, so be prepared to do a cleanup sweep in January if your patching system won’t automatically catch systems up when brought back online.
  • I’m going to arbitrarily mark 1992 and the release of Windows 3.1 as the start of Windows vulnerabilities being remotely exploited. It took Microsoft until 2003 (11 years) to move to regular monthly patching with the now almost 20-year-old “Vulnerability Tuesday” approach. It is long past time for the monthly approach to go away and more frequent and more transparent patch pushing to be the norm. I’d like to see Microsoft make a major announcement about that happening before Vulnerability Tuesday leaves its teenage years…

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