In a new security bulletin on the Windows-centric ‘Patch Tuesday’, Microsoft has revealed that all versions of Windows from Windows Vista and later contain a serious flaw that requires an immediate patch. The patch is to prevent a flaw in the way the operating system handles certain files.
Such is the significance of this particular Windows vulnerability that all versions of Windows from Vista and beyond, including Windows 10, are vulnerable to an exploit. The vulnerability cold potentially allow an attacker to run arbitrary code as a logged-in user. Such an exploit leaves administrator accounts the most vulnerable with the greatest risk.
Fundamentally, all that an attacker would need to do is to trick a user into accessing a Journal file, one which would then allow the attacker to initiate programs, delete data or more.
As revealed by Microsoft, the vulnerability (bulletin ID: MS16-013) reads:
This security update resolves a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Journal file.
Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Other security updates contained fixes for critical flaws affecting Microsoft’s flagship programs – Windows and Office.
One of the fixes – MS16-015, took care of a number of memory corruption flaws hampering Microsoft Office. As a critical vulnerability, this too would allow an attacker to execute code remotely, even more-so when a user triggers an Office file. In this instance, the attacker would again have the same access to the system as the user logged into the terminal.
Another fix, MS16-012 brings to focus a vulnerability wherein an attacker could run malicious code on a targeted system by getting the oblivious user to open a malicious PDF file. In this instance, users of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 were predominantly affected, although not exploited by attackers. The flaw was reported to Microsoft privately.
As usual, another patched specifically addressed over 25 separate vulnerabilities associated with Adobe’s Flash Player on versions of Windows 8.1 and higher.
Image credit: Flickr.