Patch Analysis for July 2008

This month there are just four security bulletins to deal with. All are rated ‘important’ by Microsoft.  The Outlook Web Access Server and SQL Server patches will probably require the most testing.  

The most urgent bulletin is the MS08-038 remote code patch for Windows Explorer since it is public but really is only an issue for Vista workstations.  MS08-038 addresses an auto-play vulnerability and a vulnerability in the saved search feature of Explorer. Auto-play can be disabled via group policy. The other vulnerability in the saved-search feature has already been disclosed so we recommend you fast-track the update. The workarounds may cause more trouble than they’re worth when users start complaining.

The most interesting one in my opinion is MS08-037 which impacts all workstations and servers except Vista – this is because it addresses a hole in not just the DNS server but also the DNS client component – and every computer is a DNS client.  DNS spoofing can be very detrimental if exploited by a skilled attacker. 

A note about MS08-030 that was released last month: The package for Windows XP was updated on June 19. Make sure you have the latest one, especially if you have Bluetooth enabled.

MS08-039 has a long list of file changes. Watch Microsoft’s kb article for known issues. None are listed at present.  MS08-040 also has a long list of file changes. The installer may stop dependent services. Check Microsoft’s kb article for information on this and other known issues. You may be surprised at how many workstations now use the SQL server product since a stripped down version is sometimes given different names.
BulletinExploit Types
/Technologies Affected
System Types AffectedExploit
details public?
/ Being exploited?
MS severity ratingProducts AffectedNotesRandy's recommendation

Privilege elevation
Information disclosure

/ SQL Server
SQL Server Systems
No/NoNoImportant SQL Server 2000
SQL Server 2005
Restart req’d; Multiple vulnerabilities addressedPatch after normal testing

Arbitrary code

/ Windows Explorer
Terminal Servers
Yes/NoYesImportant Vista
Restart req’d; Workarounds will disable saved search featurePatch after minimal testing


/ Windows DNS
Terminal Servers
No/NoNoImportant Win2000
Restart Req’d; Both DNS Clients and Servers affectedPatch after normal testing

Privilege elevation

/ Exchange Outlook Web Access
No/NoNoImportant Exchange 2000
Exchange 2007
Client’s email at riskPatch after testing

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