January 4th, 2013, 22:48 PM
Microsoft to patch Windows 8, but stays mum on IE zero-day fix
Microsoft today said it will release seven security updates next week -- including one rated critical for Windows 8 and Windows RT -- to patch 12 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office, SharePoint Server and the company's website design software.
At the same time, Microsoft warned customers that hackers are using digital certificates obtained from a Turkish certificate authority (CA). In response, Microsoft has removed the purloined certificates from Windows' list of trusted certificates, and urged users to verify that they have applied a June 2012 update that automates the de-certification process.
Missing from Thursday's advance notification was any news about the Internet Explorer (IE) zero-day vulnerability that hackers have been exploiting since at least Dec. 7.
Microsoft today declined to comment when asked about the timetable for the IE fix.
In an emailed statement, Dustin Childs, a group manager in Microsoft's security group, again said that the firm has found few attacks exploiting the IE bug. "We've seen only a limited number of affected customers," Childs claimed.
The IE bug affects the IE6, IE7 and IE8 browsers released between 2006 and 2009. The vulnerability does not exist in the newer IE9 and IE10, Microsoft said last weekend when it first warned customers of the flaw.
"I didn't expect that they would have a patch ready," Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security, said in an interview today. "And I don't think that they'll release it out-of-band at this point, unless the attacks start to show a large upward trajectory."
"Out-of-band" refers to a security update that's issued on the fly, and outside the usual monthly patch schedule Microsoft maintains. With no plans to patch the IE vulnerability next week, Microsoft's next scheduled opportunity would be Feb. 12.