January '11 Patch Tuesday: 2 Bulletins, 3 Vulnerabilities
Article by George Norman
On 11 Jan 2011
UPDATE: Details on the security bulletins released by Microsoft as part of the January 2011 Patch Tuesday are available here .

Redmond-based software giant Microsoft is starting the year with a small Patch Tuesday. As part of the January 2011 Patch Tuesday, this month (today, the 11th of January at 10:00 a.m. PST to be more precise) Microsoft will roll out 2 security bulletins meant to address a total of 3 vulnerabilities. An advance notice for January’s security bulletins has been posted online here.


The first bulletin carries the “important” rating. Microsoft issues this rating to vulnerabilities “whose exploitation could result in compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of users data, or of the integrity or availability of processing resources.” The vulnerability this bulletin addresses could lead to remote code execution; it affects Windows Vista.

The second bulletin carries the “critical” rating, Microsoft issues this rating to vulnerabilities “whose exploitation could allow the propagation of an Internet worm without user action.” The vulnerability this bulletin addresses could lead to remote code execution; it affects all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Earlier this month we were reporting that the first Windows vulnerability for 2011 has been uncovered. Detailed in Security Advisory 2490606, the vulnerability plagues the Windows Graphics Rendering Engine; it affects Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008, but not Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

The problem is that the Windows Graphics Rendering Engine improperly parses a specially crafted thumbnail image, resulting in a stack overflow. It’s a problem that could allow the attacker to install programs, view, change, or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights.

The vulnerability could be used by someone with malicious intent to inject and execute arbitrary code; the attacker could take control of a targeted machine if the user is logged on with administrative rights. To exploit the vulnerability that someone with malicious intent would have to send an e-mail with an attached Microsoft Word or PowerPoint file containing a specially crafted thumbnail image and convince the recipient to open it.

Microsoft will not address this security problem during the January 2011 Patch Tuesday, announced Carlene Chmaj, Senior Response Communications Manager, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing.

“This month we will not be releasing updates to address Security Advisory 2490606 (public vulnerability affecting Windows Graphics Rendering Engine) and Security Advisory 2488013 (public vulnerability affecting Internet Explorer). We continue to actively monitor both vulnerabilities and for Advisory 2488013 we have started to see targeted attacks. If customers have not already, we recommend they consult the Advisory for the mitigation recommendations. We continue to watch the threat landscape very closely.”

As part of the Patch Tuesday program Microsoft releases patches for its products every second Tuesday of the month. During 2010 Microsoft released more than 100 security bulletins as part of the Patch Tuesday program, bulletins that addressed more than 200 vulnerabilities. Here’s a detailed view:
  1. In January Microsoft released just 1 security bulletin (6 vulnerabilities).
  2. In February Microsoft released a grand total of 13 security bulletins (26 vulnerabilities).
  3. In March Microsoft released only 2 bulletins (8 vulnerabilities).
  4. In April Microsoft released a total of 11 bulletins (25 vulnerabilities).
  5. In May Microsoft released just 2 bulletins (2 vulnerabilities).
  6. In June Microsoft released a grand total of 10 bulletins (34 vulnerabilities).
  7. In July Microsoft released only 4 bulletins (5 vulnerabilities).
  8. In August Microsoft released a grand total of 14 bulletins (34 vulnerabilities).
  9. In September Microsoft released only 9 bulletins (11 vulnerabilities).
  10. In October Microsoft released 16 bulletins (49 vulnerabilities), a record breaking Patch Tuesday.
  11. In November Microsoft released 3 bulletins (11 vulnerabilities).
  12. In December Microsoft released 17 bulletins (40 vulnerabilities).

Tags: Microsoft, Patch Tuesday
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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January '11 Patch Tuesday: 2 Bulletins, 3 Vulnerabilities
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