on Tuesday released security bulletins to patch six critical flaws in its software. The fixes address vulnerabilities in all currently supported versions of Windows, as well as browser versions IE 6 and newer, Office, Visual Studio, Lync, the .NET framework and Silverlight.
Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid 7, said July's Patch Tuesday is the "polar opposite of June's ho-hum, here-we-go-again-with-the-patches exercise." In his assessment, it's going to be a busy month for security teams.
Tyler Reguly, technical manager of security and development at Tripwire, told us the repeated mention of a CVE-2013-3129 in three bulletins jumps out at him. He urged everyone to make sure they are fully patched against this vulnerability.
"With so many critical bulletins, it's difficult to determine a solid patch priority. Luckily, there's safety in the known, so customers should patch Internet Explorer first, a common theme for Microsoft patch drops," Reguly said.
"Microsoft is patching a public vulnerability patched in MS13-053 and anything that is already public deserves extra attention, so apply the MS13-053 patch as soon as you're finished applying MS13-055."
The New Policy
We turned to Craig Young, a Tripwire security researcher, to get his take on the releases. He told us Microsoft is taking a big step toward minimizing vulnerable applications in its various app stores.
"Under the new policy, any app in any of the four app stores will be given 180 days to resolve reported code execution bugs," Young said. "This policy applies to third-party developers as well as Microsoft's own applications and is a great addition to Microsoft's existing policy of scanning and reviewing app submissions."
Internet Explorer vulnerabilities this month made up half the CVEs addressed in the July bulletin. Young said this was particularly alarming because 16 of the 17 issues addressed were memory corruption vulnerabilities -- many of which Microsoft expected could be reliably exploited in the next 30 days. What's more, he said, this comes on the heels of a particularly large June Internet Explorer update.
"Font processing took a big hit this month. Three advisories are being released to address TTF parsing issues which could be used in drive-by-downloads or other attacks leading code execution," he said. "One such vulnerability is particularly bad as it exists within kernel-space and can allow code execution in the system context."
Add Adobe to the Mix
On top of the busy month of Microsoft patches, Adobe is releasing new versions of three products addressing security flaws: Adobe Shockwave (APSB13-18), ColdFusion (APSB13-19) and Adobe Shockwave Flash player (APSB13-17).
"Users of Internet Explorer 10 and Google Chrome already have updates integrated and do not need to worry about installing the new version themselves," said Wolfgang Kankek, CTO at Qualys. "Everybody else, including Mac OS X users, should apply this critical update as quickly as possible."
Kandek also warned to keep an important point in mind: July is not over. Oracle plans to release its quarterly update for its software -- except Java -- next on July 19.