August saw yet another Patch Tuesday designed to resolve security issues in Microsoft products. Out of the 48 vulnerabilities resolved, 15 affected Windows, while 25 were rated as critical, 21 as important, and 27 that allowed for remote code execution. This might sound a little overwhelming, so we’ll try to simplify it a bit--a lot of flaws were fixed, and the majority of them can be considered dangerous for your organization.
Since only 15 affected Windows itself, you might be wondering where the others were applied. Other Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Sharepoint, SQL Server, Hyper-V, and Kernel, all required a response from the developer. Only two of these flaws affected all versions of Windows and Windows Server, yet none of them were being exploited in the wild by hackers trying to find their next victim.
There is one vulnerability, however, that should require your immediate attention, and this is the one which targets the Windows Search function in your device. The vulnerability in question, CVE-2017-8620, can be exploited remotely via Server Management Block (SMB) to take over a system. This includes both a Windows workstation or a Windows Server unit. Thankfully, the flaw doesn’t exist in SMB itself, and is unaffected by the dangerous threats like the WannaCry ransomware and NotPetya.
According to the Windows advisory, the vulnerability is exploited through the way that Windows Search handles objects in memory. Basically, hackers can send specialized messages through Windows Search to change user permissions. Once they have done so, the possibilities are limitless. Hackers could install, remove, or change applications on the targeted device, as well as view, change, or delete data stored on it. Even scarier is the ability to create an entirely new account with full administrator privileges.
This type of vulnerability is something out of a hacker’s dream, allowing them to take full advantage of a victim’s computer with relatively little trouble. The good news is that as long as you apply the required patches and security updates, the issue can be resolved easily enough. How does your organization combat vulnerabilities? You need to implement patches and security updates in at least some capacity, as not doing anything at all is a recipe for disaster--especially with a threat as thorough as the one mentioned above. Thankfully, there is a solution for organizations that either don’t have the time or the resources to implement patches in a timely manner.
Outsourced IT services, including remote patching and maintenance, can be acquired by organizations of all sizes, without breaking your budget or dragging down operations due to maintenance. You can take advantage of enterprise-level solutions designed to help your organization optimize security, without hiring an internal IT department and adding new salaries to your budget. Directive can help your business identify and repair weaknesses in its computing infrastructure. To learn more, reach out to us at 607.433.2200.
Our clients that are subscribed to our Managed IT services will be covered and will be getting the Windows updates once it has been fully tested.