New critical security alert for Microsoft Windows 10 server users

The latest batch of “Patch Tuesday” security fixes for Microsoft users just came out, and it’s a big one. Among the 75 security issues addressed, there are eight that earn a critical severity rating and three zero-day vulnerabilities. Windows 10 and Server users are warned that one of these is being exploited in the wild, in other words already under attack.

For a complete list of all 75 vulnerabilities, along with their respective severity ratings and affected platforms, visit the Microsoft Security Update Guide. However, this is what we know about which attacks are already underway.

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CVE-2022-26925 is the zero-day vulnerability that Microsoft confirms is already being exploited. Perhaps surprisingly, despite being a zero-day exploit, it only gets a major rating from Microsoft unless, and this is where things get a bit tricky, it’s chained with New Technology LAN Manager (NTLM) relay attacks.

These PetitPotam attacks, as they are known, can be used to attack Windows domain controllers and other servers. If combined, the zero-day severity rating increases to a criticality of 9.8. Fortunately, this is far from a simple attack to pull off, although it is obviously possible as the ‘actively exploited’ label demonstrates. As a result, Windows (Server, 7, 8.1, 10) users should make sure the update is applied as soon as possible.

What security experts say

Chris Hass, director of security at Automox, says what this Patch Tuesday lacks in numbers (more than 100 vulnerabilities were disclosed in April) it makes up for in severity and infrastructure headaches. “CVE-2022-26925, a Windows LSA spoofing vulnerability, could allow an attacker to intercept or man-in-the-middle network traffic. Noting that Microsoft has confirmed the exploitation of this CVE in the wild, system administrators should put this patch near the top of their list,” he says. More generally, Hass says that Automox recommends that all critical and exploited vulnerabilities be patched within a 72-hour period.

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Satya Gupta, co-founder of Virsec, says that while this Patch Tuesday update includes “very concerning vulnerabilities” on an individual threat basis, when viewed in a broader context, that concern remains. “Consider that in April-May 2022, more than one in three vulnerabilities identified by Microsoft (1,330 or 36%) are remote code execution vulnerabilities,” he says, “this of course represents a huge opportunity for malicious actors compromise almost any customer.”

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