• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Microsoft Patches Critical DNS Server, Exchange Vulnerabilities

May 08, 20072 mins
Build AutomationCSO and CISO

Microsoft has released its May set of security patches, fixing critical bugs in Windows, Office and Exchange.

Seven groups of patches, called updates in Microsoft parlance, were released Tuesday, fixing a total of 19 bugs. Microsoft rates all seven of these updates as critical, but security experts said that IT administrators should be particularly concerned with the MS07-026 and MS07-029 updates, which fix flaws in Exchange and the Windows DNS server.

The Exchange update fixes previously undisclosed flaws in Microsoft’s messaging software that could be exploited to seize control of the server, said Paul Zinski, director of product and market strategy at PatchLink. “The biggest impact to organizations is going to be the Exchange update,” he said. “It really affects core business.”

If hackers were able to develop the right kind of Exchange exploit code, they could install unauthorized software on the server simply by sending it a maliciously crafted e-mail message—something that would be extremely difficult to block, Zinski said.

Unlike the Exchange bugs, the flaw in Windows’ DNS server has been known for about a month. Attackers have already developed code that exploits this flaw, and security vendors have been seeing some online attacks over the past several weeks.

The DNS flaw “stands as the number-one issue” this month, according to Amol Sarwate, manager of Qualys’ vulnerability research lab. “A lot of people were waiting very anxiously for that patch.”

The problem affects Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 systems, which can be tricked into running unauthorized software when an attacker sends them maliciously encoded Remote Procedure Call packets to the DNS server. The latest versions of Windows 2000 Professional, XP and Vista are not vulnerable to this attack.

There is no shortage of other worrisome bugs this month, however. Microsoft also released updates that fixed vulnerabilities in Excel, Word, Internet Explorer, Office and the CAPICOM cryptography technology used by BizTalk Server.

-Robert McMillan, IDG News Service