Software defense: mitigating common exploitation techniques

In our previous posts in this series, we described various mitigation improvements that attempt to prevent the exploitation of specific classes of memory safety vulnerabilities such as those that involve stack corruption, heap corruption, and unsafe list management and reference count mismanagement. These mitigations are typically associated with a specific developer mistake such as writing…

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Assessing risk for the December 2013 security updates

Today we released eleven security bulletins addressing 24 CVE’s. Five bulletins have a maximum severity rating of Critical while the other six have a maximum severity rating of Important. We hope that the table below helps you prioritize the deployment of the updates appropriately for your environment. Bulletin Most likely attack vector Max Bulletin Severity…

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MS13-098: Update to enhance the security of Authenticode

Today we released MS13-098, a security update that strengthens the Authenticode code-signing technology against attempts to modify a signed binary without invalidating the signature. This update addresses a specific instance of malicious binary modification that could allow a modified binary to pass the Authenticode signature check. More importantly, it also introduces further hardening to consider…

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MS13-106: Farewell to another ASLR bypass

Today we released MS13-106 which resolves a security feature bypass that can allow attackers to circumvent Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) using a specific DLL library (HXDS.DLL) provided as part of Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010. The existence of an ASLR bypass does not directly enable the execution of code and does not represent a risk by…

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Introducing Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 4.1

In June 2013, we released EMET 4.0 and customer response has been fantastic. Many customers across the world now include EMET as part of their defense-in-depth strategy and appreciate how EMET helps businesses prevent attackers from gaining access to computers systems. Today, we’re releasing a new version, EMET 4.1, with updates that simplify configuration and…

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Technical details of the targeted attack using IE vulnerability CVE-2013-3918

Over the weekend we became aware of an active attack relying on an unknown remote code execution vulnerability of a legacy ActiveX component used by Internet Explorer. We are releasing this blog to confirm one more time that the code execution vulnerability will be fixed in today’s UpdateTuesday release and to clarify some details about…

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Assessing risk for the November 2013 security updates

Today we released eight security bulletins addressing 19 CVE’s. Three bulletins have a maximum severity rating of Critical while the other five have a maximum severity rating of Important. We hope that the table below helps you prioritize the deployment of the updates appropriately for your environment. Bulletin Most likely attack vector Max Bulletin Severity…

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Security Advisory 2880823: Recommendation to discontinue use of SHA-1

Microsoft is recommending that customers and CA’s stop using SHA-1 for cryptographic applications, including use in SSL/TLS and code signing. Microsoft Security Advisory 2880823 has been released along with the policy announcement that Microsoft will stop recognizing the validity of SHA-1 based certificates after 2016. Background Secure Hashing Algorithm 1 (SHA-1) is a message digest algorithm…

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Security Advisory 2868725: Recommendation to disable RC4

In light of recent research into practical attacks on biases in the RC4 stream cipher, Microsoft is recommending that customers enable TLS1.2 in their services and take steps to retire and deprecate RC4 as used in their TLS implementations. Microsoft recommends TLS1.2 with AES-GCM as a more secure alternative which will provide similar performance. Background…

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Software defense: safe unlinking and reference count hardening

Object lifetime management vulnerabilities represent a very common class of memory safety vulnerability.  These vulnerabilities come in many shapes and sizes, and are typically quite difficult to mitigate generically.  Vulnerabilities of this type result commonly from incorrect accounting with respect to reference counts describing active users of an object, or improper handling of certain object…

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