Latest MS Patch Fixes Stuxnet Worm; 2 Exploits Remain

Dennis Faas's picture

As announced late last week, Microsoft has released a patch addressing thirteen vulnerabilities in its Windows operating systems (OS) and business suite Office. The most critical of these threats are posed by the Stuxnet worm, of which 2 zero-day flaws remain at large and unpatched. (Source:

Stuxnet Worm: Sophisticated, Huge Threat

Security experts say the patch is an important one.

For users of the ubiquitous Windows XP, the exploit has been ranked "critical" by Microsoft, its most serious rating. However, if you're running the more recent Vista or Windows 7, the Stuxnet threat is considered only "important". (Source:

Representatives from security companies Kapersky Lab and Symantec think it's important that all Windows users download the patch.

"If this remained unpatched, it could turn into another big worm, like [the Blaster worm which inundated computers back in August of 2003]," noted Kapersky's senior security researcher, Kurt Baumgartner. (Source:

"The fact that Stuxnet exploits four previously unknown vulnerabilities [is most interesting]," said Roel Schouwenberg, senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab. "But overall, the thought which has been put into Stuxnet is just amazing. Four zero-days, two stolen [digital] certificates ... it's all been very carefully orchestrated." (Source:

Windows 'Shortcut Flaw' Related to Stuxnet Worm

It's estimated that the Stuxnet worm first appeared in July of this year, attacking industrial systems like Siemens and reportedly responsible for stealing corporate secrets. (Source:

Last month Microsoft released an emergency, out-of-schedule patch for a Windows hole used by Stuxnet and related to the exploitation of problem shortcut files using the .LNK extension. Users can consider this most recent patch part of Microsoft's attempt to clean up residual issues related to that original fix.

Video Flaw Could Lead to Remote Takeover

Microsoft's latest Patch Tuesday release also includes fixes for possible remote takeover scenarios. One involves a critical flaw in the MPEG-4 video codec used by every version of the Windows operating system, including Windows Vista and 7. If an unpatched PC views infected streaming video content, the computer will become infected and likely hijacked.

Especially vulnerable to this attack: gamers fond of the first-person shooter Halo franchise, which recently launched a new version of "Halo: Reach" on September 14th, 2010.

"Halo fans watching user-posted content (and anyone else watching AVI movies) should be extra careful over the next week or so; otherwise, your computer could get 'shot up' with malware," said nCircle's Andrew Storms, director of security operations.

How to Patch Your Windows PC

Windows PCs can be patched by visiting the Windows Update website, or by launching Windows Update from the Start Menu.

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