Microsoft rings in 2012 with 7 security patches

January's Security Update from Microsoft, arriving Jan. 10, will feature six fixes for Windows and one fix for Microsoft developer tools, according to the company's advance notice.

Only one security bulletin in the patch, a remote code execution fix for Windows, is expected to be labeled "critical." This lone critical item will apply to all supported Windows versions, except for the most recent client and server operating systems. It's not the only one to watch in this patch release, according to Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at Qualys.


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"Bulletin one is the single bulletin rated as 'critical' and should be considered the priority, however for users of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 its severity is downgraded to 'important,'" Kandek explained in a blog post. "Bulletins three and five, while rated 'important' both involve Remote Code Execution, most likely through a specifically crafted input file to one of the Windows standard programs and should also be high on your list of bulletins to look at."

The second bulletin in the patch will be a Windows fix for a "security feature bypass" error, or SFB. It's a new vulnerability classification -- at least in terms of Microsoft's security bulletin release history.

"Eagle-eyed readers of the summary page will notice an unusual vulnerability classification, 'Security Feature Bypass,' for one of our Important-severity bulletins," explained Microsoft's Angela Gunn in a blog post. "SFB-class issues in themselves can't be leveraged by an attacker; rather, a would-be attacker would use them to facilitate use of another exploit."

More details about Microsoft's January patch will be available once it goes live on Tuesday, at around 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

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