Adobe and Microsoft have issued their monthly updates for July, so even if you’d rather be doing anything else, you should be patching your computers.
We’ll start with Microsoft. As usual, this month’s Security Update Release bulletin serves as little more than a link to the Security Update Guide (SUG), Microsoft’s labyrinthine replacement for the individual bulletins we used to get.
In my experience, the SUG is much easier to digest in the form of a spreadsheet, so the first thing I do there is click the small
Download link at the right edge of the page, to the right of the Security Updates heading. If you have Excel — or something compatible — installed, you should be able to open it directly.
Once the spreadsheet is loaded, I recommend enabling the Filter option. In Excel 2007, that setting is in the Sort & Filter section of the Data ribbon (toolbar). This makes every column heading a drop-down list, which allow you to select a particular product or platform, and hide everything else.
Analysis of this month’s updates from the SUG spreadsheet shows that there are sixty-two distinct updates, addressing fifty-three security vulnerabilities in Flash, Internet Explorer, SharePoint, Visual Studio, Edge, Office applications, .NET, and all supported versions of Windows. Seventeen of the updates are flagged as Critical.
As for Adobe, there are updates for Flash (version 220.127.116.11) and Acrobat Reader DC (version 2018.011.20055). The Flash update fixes two vulnerabilities, one of which is Critical. The Acrobat Reader DC update includes fixes for over one hundred security bugs.
The June 2018 Security Update Release bulletin on Microsoft’s TechNet blog is almost devoid of useful information, but if you click the link to the Security Update Guide, then click the big Go To Security Update Guide button, you’ll see a link to the release notes for this month’s updates.
According to the release notes, this month’s updates affect Internet Explorer, Edge, Windows, Office, Office Services and Web Apps, Flash embedded in IE and Edge, and ChakraCore. Analysis of the information in the SUG reveals that there are forty updates, fixing fifty-one separate vulnerabilities. Eleven of the vulnerabilties are flagged as Critical.
On June 7, Adobe released a new version of Flash, which addresses four vulnerabilities in earlier versions. One of those vulnerabilities is being exploited right now, mostly by way of Office documents attached to email.
The security bulletin for Flash 18.104.22.168 provides additional details.
If you’re using Flash, and in particular if you use a web browser in which Flash is enabled, you should update Flash as soon as possible. On Windows systems, you can do that by going to the Windows Control Panel, then clicking the Flash component. In the Flash Player Settings Manager, go to the
Updates tab and click
Check Now. That will take you to the official About Flash page, where you can check whether Flash is currently installed, see which version is installed, and download the latest version. Depending on your browser configuration, you may have to click the small gray rectangle to the right of the introductory text, then confirm that you want to allow Flash content to play.
As usual, browsers with embedded Flash (Edge, Chrome, Internet Explorer) will get the new version via their own update mechanisms.
Spring has sprung, and with it, a load of updates from Microsoft and Adobe.
This month from Microsoft: sixty-seven updates, fixing sixty-nine security vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, Edge, .NET, Flash, and various development tools. Seventeen of the vulnerabilities addressed are flagged as Critical and can lead to remote code execution.
The details are as usual buried in Microsoft’s Security Update Guide. You may find it easier to examine that information in spreadsheet form, which you can obtain by clicking little Download link partway down the page on the right. Just above that there’s a link to the release notes for this month’s updates, but don’t expect much useful information there.
Update 2018May11: If you were looking for something to motivate your patching endeavours, consider this: two of the vulnerabilities addressed in this month’s updates are being actively exploited on the web.
As you might have guessed from Microsoft’s Flash updates, Adobe released a new version of Flash today. Flash 22.214.171.124 addresses a single critical vulnerability in previous versions. You can find release notes for Flash 29 on the Adobe web site.
You can get Flash from Windows Update if you run a Microsoft browser, via Chrome’s internal updater, or from the official Flash download page. If you use the Flash download page, make sure to disable any optional installs, as they are generally not useful.
Microsoft’s contribution to our monthly headache starts with a post on the TechNet MSRC blog: April 2018 security update release. This brief page consists of the same boilerplate we get every month, and provides no details at all. We’re informed that “information about this month’s security updates can be found in the Security Update Guide” but there isn’t even a link to the SUG.
Analysis of the SUG for this month’s Microsoft updates shows that there are sixty updates, addressing sixty-eight vulnerabilities in Flash, Excel, Word, and other Office components, Internet Explorer, Edge, Windows, and Defender. Twenty-three of the vulnerabilities are flagged as Critical.
If your Windows computer is not configured for automatic updates, you’ll need to use Windows Update in the Control Panel to install them.
Adobe’s offering for this month’s patching fun is a new version of Flash Player: 126.96.36.199 (APSB18-08). Six security vulnerabilities — three flagged as Critical — are fixed in the new version.
If you’re using a web browser with Flash enabled, you should install Flash 188.8.131.52 as soon as possible. The embedded Flash used in Internet Explorer 11 and Edge on newer versions of Windows will get the new version via Windows Update. Chrome’s embedded Flash will be updated via Chrome’s automatic update system. To update the desktop version of Flash, visit the About Flash page.
A new version of Flash, released on March 13 by Adobe, fixes two security vulnerabilities as well as a few other bugs.
If you use a browser with Flash enabled, you should update it as soon as possible. Most browsers no longer play Flash content automatically, or at least have options to make Flash content play only when explicitly allowed. Still, it’s best to be up to date if you use Flash at all.
Internet Explorer and Edge will get their Flash updates via Windows Update, and Google Chrome will update itself on its own mysterious schedule. You can force the issue by visiting the main Flash download page, or the About Flash page, which will prompt you to update if you’re not running the latest version. Don’t forget to disable installation of any additional software, including McAfee security products.
You can find more details in the release announcement, release notes, and the associated security bulletin.
I count forty-seven separate bulletins in this month’s batch of updates, which means there are roughly that same number of updates. Over seventy security vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, Office, and .NET are addressed in the updates. There’s a Flash update in there as well, for Edge and recent versions of Internet Explorer.
This month we also get more fixes for Spectre and Meltdown, including firmware updates for somewhat older processors (Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake). There’s still not much available for processors that are more than a few years old.
While Microsoft continues to push people to enable automatic updates, the more cautious among us (including myself) prefer to control what is updated and when. Windows 10 users still have effectively no control over Windows updates.
You can extract additional details for this month’s updates from Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.
Earlier today, Microsoft released forty-two updates to address fifty-four vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, Flash, and Office software. Fourteen of the vulnerabilities are flagged as critical, and have the potential to be used for remote code execution.
This information was extracted from Microsoft’s Security Update Guide, the rather opaque reservoir into which Microsoft now dumps its update information. Of course Microsoft would be happier if we all just enabled auto-updates, and in fact the monthly patch bulletins are now little more than a link to the SUG and a recommendation to enable auto-updates.
As expected, Adobe has released a new version of Flash that addresses CVE-2018-4878 and another critical vulnerability, CVE-2018-4877. A new security bulletin (APSB18-03) provides additional details.
The new version was made available on February 6. The release notes show that at least one other bug was fixed in Flash 184.108.40.206.
Anyone still using a web browser with Flash enabled should make sure that it’s up to date. CVE-2018-4877 is already being actively exploited.
As usual, Chrome will update itself automatically, and Internet Explorer and Edge will get the new Flash via Windows Update.
On February 1, Adobe published a security advisory about a critical vulnerability (CVE-2018-4878) in Flash Player 220.127.116.11 and earlier versions. Successful exploitation could allow an attacker to take control of an affected system.
An exploit for CVE-2018-4878 already exists, and is being used in targeted attacks against Windows users. So far, attacks based on this vulnerability have been delivered via Office documents with malicious Flash content as email attachments.
Adobe plans to address this vulnerability next week. Meanwhile, use extreme caution when deciding whether to open email attachments, especially if they appear to be Office documents.
Flash is gradually disappearing from use, but it’s still used enough to make it a tempting target for malicious hackers.
Duo Security: No Patch Yet: Flash Vulnerability Exploited in the Wild