Update now! Microsoft patches 3 actively exploited zero-days

Another important update round for this month’s Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has patched a total of 63 vulnerabilities in its operating systems. Five of these vulnerabilities qualify as zero-days, with three listed as being actively exploited. Microsoft considers a vulnerability to be a zero-day if it is publicly disclosed or actively exploited with no official fix available.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database lists publicly disclosed computer security flaws. The zero-days patched in these updates are listed as:

CVE-2023-36025: a Windows SmartScreen security feature bypass vulnerability that would allow an attacker to bypass Windows Defender SmartScreen checks and their associated prompts. SmartScreen is a built-in Windows component designed to detect and block known malicious websites and files.

It requires user interaction since the user would have to click on a specially crafted Internet Shortcut (.URL) or a hyperlink pointing to an Internet Shortcut file to be compromised by the attacker. Microsoft listed this vulnerability with the remark “Exploitation Detected.”

CVE-2023-36033: a Windows Desktop Window Manager (DWM) Core Library elevation of privilege (EoP) vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain SYSTEM privileges. This vulnerability is also listed with the remark “Exploitation Detected.”

CVE-2023-36036: a Windows Cloud Files Mini Filter Driver EoP vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain SYSTEM privileges. This vulnerability is also listed with the remark “Exploitation Detected.”

EoP type of vulnerabilities are typically used in attack chains. Once the attacker has gained entrance, the vulnerabilities allow them to increase their permission level.

CVE-2023-36413: a Microsoft Office security feature bypass vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow an attacker to bypass the Office Protected View and open in editing mode rather than protected mode. Full exploitation requires that the attacker sends the target a malicious file and convince them to open it. This is a publicly disclosed vulnerability but there are no known cases of exploitation.

CVE-2023-36038: a vulnerability in ASP.NET that could lead to core denial of service. This vulnerability could be exploited if http requests to .NET 8 RC 1 running on IIS InProcess hosting model are cancelled. Threads counts would increase and an OutOfMemoryException is possible. A successful exploitation might result in a total loss of availability. So, basically an attacker would send requests and then cancel them until the program runs out of memory and crashes. Microsoft notes that this vulnerability was publicly disclosed, however no in-the-wild exploitation has been observed, which is not likely to happen either if the denial of service is the best achievable goal for an attacker.

An extra warning for organizations running Microsoft Exchange Server: Prioritize several new Exchange patches, including CVE-2023-36439, which is a vulnerability that enables attackers to install malicious software on an Exchange server.

Other vendors

Other organizations have synchronized their periodic updates with Microsoft. Here are few major ones that you may find in your environment.

Adobe has released security updates to address vulnerabilities affecting multiple Adobe products:

Android’s November updates were released by Google.

SAP released its November 2023 Patch Day updates.

SysAid released security updates for a zero-day vulnerability that is actively being exploited by a ransomware affiliate.


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