Light Patch Tuesday Release Brings Heavy Warning from Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft yesterday unveiled its March Patch Tuesday offering, and by comparison to recent months it was a relatively calm affair. Only two security bulletins addressing eight vulnerabilities were announced, but they were joined by a warning related to a new zero-day Internet Explorer flaw which does not yet have a fix.

Both of the bulletins Microsoft released in accordance with its March Patch Tuesday have been designated "important". That's a big step down from this past February's Patch Tuesday, where about one-fifth of the 26 vulnerabilities were considered "critical," Microsoft's highest alert rating.

Two New Exploits Require User Interaction

This month's flaws are being called "important" rather than "critical" because they require user interaction in order to execute and exploit a system. In one case, a hacker must convince a user to open a malicious Excel file in order for the attack to take place.

"Exploitability is high for the majority of vulnerabilities listed, so we suggest to put this patch on a fast installation schedule," noted Wolfgang Kandek, security firm Qualys' CTO. (Source:

The other advisory is related to a vulnerability in Windows Movie Maker, and it too requires the hacker convince a user to open a malicious attachment.

New Internet Explorer Flaw Attacks IE 6, 7

According to Microsoft, a new zero-day flaw associated with its web browser Internet Explorer 6 and 7 is now on the loose. The issue, it seems, does not affect Internet Explorer 8.

At the moment, Microsoft says the issue is due to an invalid pointer reference inside Internet Explorer that could be accessed even after an object is deleted by the user. It's possible a hacker could use this flaw towards remote code execution, or the unauthorized takeover of a user's system.

"At this time, we are aware of targeted attacks attempting to use this vulnerability," Microsoft yesterday noted. "We will continue to monitor the threat environment and update this advisory if this situation changes."

Internet Explorer users will remember that the last zero-day vulnerability of this kind affecting their browser was tied to the very destructive "Operation Aurora" cyber attack launched on Google in January.

Microsoft's next Patch Tuesday is scheduled for April 13. There has been no word yet on whether a fix for this latest zero-day flaw will warrant an emergency patch release. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet