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Microsoft issues patches, including one for IE exploit

Patch Tuesday includes host of fixes for critical holes in Internet Explorer, Word, and Excel, and important holes in IIS Web server product and other software.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. PDT with Adobe update released; at 12:25 p.m. PDT with Microsoft saying this is a record number of vulnerabilities addressed in Patch Tuesday; and at 11:45 a.m. PDT with comment.

Microsoft has released 10 security updates fixing a record number of Patch Tuesday holes, including one for a critical hole in Internet Explorer 8 that was exploited as part of a hacking contest at CanSecWest in March.

The bulletin addresses 31 vulnerabilities. "It's the most since Microsoft started releasing updates on a regular schedule of the second Tuesday of every month in October 2003," a Microsoft spokesman said.

The June security Patch Tuesday bulletin resolves eight vulnerabilities in IE, the more severe of which could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page. The IE8 vulnerability does not affect Windows 7 RC (build 7100), but does affect Windows 7 beta.

The updates also plug two critical holes in implementations of Active Directory on Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003, and Active Directory Application Mode installed on Windows XP Professional and Server 2003, the worse of which could allow an attacker to take control of a system remotely.

The security update fixes three critical vulnerabilities in Windows Print Spooler that could allow remote code execution if an affected server received a specially crafted RPC (remote procedure call) request.

Several vulnerabilities in Office Word and Excel are addressed in the update that could allow an attacker to remotely run code or take control of the machine using a specially crafted Word or Excel file. The update fixes the PowerPoint vulnerability Microsoft warned in April was being exploited in limited, targeted attacks that was fixed in the Windows version last month.

The update includes a patch for an important hole in its IIS Web server product that Microsoft reported in May.

"We didn't see any in-the-wild exploitations of the (IIS WebDav) vulnerability but typically when Microsoft releases those alerts they're doing it because a customer" has alerted them to an exploit, said Steve Manzuik, senior manager of security research at Juniper Networks.

Also fixed is a critical vulnerability in Microsoft Works Converters, important vulnerabilities in RPC and Windows Kernel. And Microsoft fixed a moderate vulnerability in Windows Search that could allow information disclosure if a user performs a search that returns a specially crafted file as the first result, or if the user previews a malicious file from the search results. By default, the Windows Search component is not preinstalled on Windows XP and Server 2003.

Products affected by the updates include Windows 2000, XP, XP Professional edition, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008; Office 2000, 2003, 2007, and XP; and Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008 for the Mac.

Other affected software includes Office Excel Viewer; Office Word Viewer; Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats; Works 8.5 and 9.0; and Office SharePoint Server.

The updates did not include a fix for a vulnerability in Microsoft's DirectX streaming media technology in Windows disclosed late last month that could allow someone to take complete control of a computer using a maliciously crafted QuickTime file.

"They probably didn't have time to QA (quality assurance test) it adequately," said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at Qualys. "It doesn't surprise me because look at how many vulnerabilities they had in this release. It must have been an enormous workload for these teams to fix all of these."

Adobe also issued security updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat versions 7.x, 8.x, and 9.x for Windows and Macintosh on Tuesday in its first quarterly security update for its popular software for creating and reading PDF files.

The updates, available from Adobe's site, resolve critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader 9.1.1 and Acrobat 9.1.1 and earlier versions that could cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the system.