By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
April 10, 2007
Microsoft has released its regularly scheduled batch of security
patches, fixing critical flaws in Windows and the Microsoft Content
The updates come one week after Microsoft was forced to rush an
emergency Windows patch when attackers began exploiting a bug in the way
Windows processes .ani animated cursor files.
In addition to the Content Management Server update, Microsoft fixed
critical flaws in the Windows Client Server Run-Time Subsystem,
Microsoft Agent, and Plug and Play services.
In total, the new patches fix seven critical flaws, five of which are in
Windows. A fifth update fixes a less-critical flaw in the Windows
All three of the critical Windows patches should be installed as quickly
as possible, security vendors said Tuesday. Symantec rated the Microsoft
Agent (MS07-020) patch the most critical because this service runs on a
large number of systems. "A successful exploit could allow an attacker
to install malicious code of his/her choice and potentially allow the
attacker to gain complete control of the affected system in the
worst-case scenario," Symantec said in a statement.
System administrators should pay particular attention to the Windows
Client Server Run-Time Subsystem (MS07-021) and Plug and Play (MS07-019)
updates, said Amol Sarwate, manager of Qualys' vulnerability research
The MS07-021 update fixes an unpatched Windows vulnerability that was
first reported late last year, Sarwate said. Although attack code that
leverages this flaw has not been widely used, it could let a criminal
run unauthorized software on a victim's computer, he said. For this to
happen, however, a victim would first need to be tricked into visiting a
malicious Web site.
The Plug and Play flaw could be exploited with no user action
whatsoever, Sarwate added, but attacks that would take advantage of this
flaw can be blocked at the firewall, he said.
Users of the Content Management Server should also make the MS07-018
update a priority, he said. However, the newer version of this product,
called Office SharePoint server, is not vulnerable to the flaws that are
fixed in this patch.
For customers who are having problems with last week's .ani (MS07-017)
update, Microsoft re-released a hotfix for that patch that takes care of
problems that the update was causing for users of the ElsterFormular,
TUGZip and CD-Tag software. This hotfix had been available for manual
download last week, but now it can be downloaded through Microsoft's
various automatic update services.
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