Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday updates for March 2018 fix a total of 75 vulnerabilities, including more than a dozen critical flaws affecting the company’s Edge and Internet Explorer web browsers.
All the security holes rated critical this month affect the web browsers. A vast majority of the issues have been described as remote code execution flaws that exist due to the way browser scripting engines handle objects in memory.
The only critical vulnerability that cannot be exploited for arbitrary code execution can lead to disclosure of information that can be leveraged to further hack the targeted system.
Two of the flaws patched by Microsoft have been publicly disclosed before patches became available, but they are only rated as “important,” and there is no evidence of malicious exploitation. These bugs are a denial-of-service (DoS) issue in ASP.NET and a privilege escalation in Exchange.
The Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) pointed out that the Exchange vulnerability exists in the Outlook Web Access (OWA) component and it can be exploited for phishing attacks.
Another interesting privilege escalation flaw affects the Windows installer and it allows an authenticated attacker to run arbitrary code with elevated permissions.
“At first glance, this doesn’t seem very crucial since an attacker would need the ability to run programs on a target system to exploit this vulnerability,” ZDI said in a blog post. “However, this type of bug is often used by malware authors to “piggyback” their malicious code on top of innocuous code. It’s always easier to convince someone to install ‘GreatNewGame.exe’ instead of ‘EvilMalware.exe’.”
Another noteworthy vulnerability is CVE-2018-0886, a remote code execution bug affecting the Credential Security Support Provider (CredSSP) protocol. In addition to applying Microsoft’s patch, users also need to make some settings changes in order to fully mitigate potential attacks.
Microsoft’s latest security updates also patch vulnerabilities in Hyper-V, Access, Identity Manager, SharePoint, and Windows. The company has also updated the Flash Player components present in its products to address a couple of flaws fixed on Tuesday by Adobe.