Microsoft Releasing Five Patches Today

More updates patch known security flaws

On top of last week's major update to Microsoft's Windows GDI implementation, Redmond plans to issue no less than four Windows security bulletins today, including at least one "Critical" update.

These patches will require a restart, according to Microsoft's Advance Notification posting.

In addition, Microsoft is prepping at least one "Critical" update for its Microsoft Content Management Server. These updates, too, could require a restart, Redmond confirms.

Microsoft also plans to release an update for its Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool today. That patch will be available via all the standard methods except Software Update Services (SUS).

Advance notification isn't always the last word in Patch Tuesday deliverables, of course. In January Microsoft yanked several promised Windows patches from its Patch Tuesday payload. Redmond typically pulls a patch if it discovers problems during testing or if identifies other issues.

Today’s patch haul might seem a little anticlimactic, coming as it does on the heels of last weekís high-profile GDI bulletin. That update patched a total of seven GDI flaws, one of which --- a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows Animated Cursor Handling implementation -- was linked to a known zero day exploit.

Last Tuesday, officials disclosed more about the back story to this week's GDI update, noting that in the months since the Windows Animated Cursor Handling flaw was first brought to Microsoft’s attention, Redmond was able to identify and patch a number of related vulnerabilities.

"[O]ur investigation through January and February showed that there was a dependency between one of the files required to address a related vulnerability in a system driver that runs in kernel mode [win32k.sys] ... and the file that needed to be updated to resolve Windows Animated Cursor Handling vulnerability [user32.dll]," wrote researcher Mike Reavey on the MSRC blog. "That dependency meant a comprehensive update needed both files to be applied to systems at the same time, and our investigation included multiple components."

The upshot, Reavey wrote, is that Microsoft identified a total of seven vulnerabilities, which it decided to patch in a single update instead of asking customers to separately patch each of the flaws.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.