December is a busy time for most of us, what with the holidays, family matters, and the many tasks involved in wrapping up one year and preparing to embark on another. In the IT world, however, the network communications must go on, and keeping them secure remains as important as ever.

Here’s hoping that all of our readers were able to make time for some fun and even a little relaxation during this hectic time, and that the effects of all the eating, drinking and being merry have begun to dissipate.

Some of our “usual suspect” software vendors were particularly generous this December, gifting us with a plethora of patches that kept IT departments scrambling to get them all installed. It was almost as if they had an inventory of updates that they needed to get out the door in a giant year-end “sale.”

Let’s take a look at each of our major vendors’ December releases in more detail.

Apple

Apple released no updates in November, but they made up for it this month, with seven releases that address an unusually large number of vulnerabilities (many of which overlap products).

On December 5, Apple released an update for Transporter running on iTunes Producer, OS X v10.6 and later, Windows 7 and later and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Transporter is Apple’s Java-based command-line tool to validate metadata and assets and deliver them directly to iTunes. This update fixes an information disclosure vulnerability by correcting the parsing of EPUB.

On December 12, Apple released the following updates:

  • iOS 10.2 is the latest release of the mobile operating system for iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th gen and later, and iPod Touch 6th gen and later. It includes fixes for a whopping 64 vulnerabilities. These include memory corruption issues, information disclosure, privilege elevation, cryptographic weaknesses, lock screen issues, certificate validation issues, and most seriously, arbitrary code execution. The vulnerabilities exist in a multiplicity of components, including numerous kernel and Web Kit vulnerabilities.
  • tvOS 10.1 is the operating system for Apple TV, gen 4. This update addresses 49 vulnerabilities, many of them the same issues and in the same components as were fixed in iOS and described above.

On December 13, Apple released the following updates:

  • macOS Sierra 10.12.2, Security Update 2016-003 El Capitan and Security Update 2016-007 Yosemite were released to fix security vulnerabilities in Apple’s currently supported desktop operating systems. They address 71 separate vulnerabilities in major components such as the kernel, apache, audio, Bluetooth, CoreGraphics, CoreText, curl, Directory Services, Foundation, FontParser, IOKit, OpenSSL, and more. The most serious of these could allow arbitrary code execution.
  • iTunes 12.5.4 for Windows is the latest update to Apple’s music and media management software for Windows 7 and later. It addresses 23 vulnerabilities in the WebKit component that include memory corruption, information disclosure, and arbitrary code execution issues due to processing of maliciously crafted web content.
  • Safari 10.0.2 is the latest iteration of the Apple web browser for OS X Yosemite, El Capitan and macOS Sierra. This release fixes 71 security vulnerabilities in various components, basically the same vulnerabilities addressed in OS X and described above.
  • iCloud for Windows 6.1 is an update for Apple’s client software for accessing data stored on their cloud storage service. It addresses 24 vulnerabilities in WebKit and Windows Security components of the application, including some that could be exploited to achieve arbitrary code execution.

For more information about these and the previously issued patches and the vulnerabilities that they address, see the Apple Support web site at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201222

Adobe

Adobe served up a relatively light load in November with just  two updates, but they returned with a vengeance in December, releasing nine updates, all on their regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday monthly release date of December 13.

  • APSB16-38 is an update for Adobe Animate that addresses a single critical memory corruption vulnerability. It has a priority rating of 3.
  • APSB16-39 is an update for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS that addresses 17 vulnerabilities that include code execution and security bypass issues. It is rated priority 1 for all except Flash Player for Linux, which is rated 3.
  • APSB16-40 is an update for Adobe Experience Manager Forms for Windows, Linux, Solaris and AIX that addresses two important input validation issues that could be used in cross-site scripting attacks. It has a priority rating of 3 on all operating systems.
  • APSB16-41 is an update for Adobe DNG Converter for Windows and Mac OS that addresses a single critical memory corruption issue. It has a priority rating of 3.
  • APSB16-42 is an update for Adobe Experience Manager that resolve three important input validation issues that could be used in cross-site scripting attacks and includes an update to protect users from an important Cross-Site Request Forgery vulnerability. It has a priority rating of 2.
  • APSB16-43 is an update for Adobe InDesign for Windows and Mac OS that addresses a single critical memory corruption issue. It has a priority rating of 3.
  • APSB16-44 is an update for ColdFusion Builder for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. This update resolves an important vulnerability that could lead to information disclosure. It has a priority rating of 2.
  • APSB16-45 is an update for Adobe Digital Editions for Windows, Macintosh and Android. This update resolves an important vulnerability that could result in a memory address leak, and an important XML parsing vulnerability that could lead to information disclosure. It has a priority rating of 3.
  • APSB16-46 is an update for Adobe Robohelp for Windows that resolves an important input validation issue that could be used in cross-site scripting attacks. It has a priority rating of 3.

For more information about these vulnerabilities and updates, see Adobe’s Security Bulletins and Advisories web site at https://helpx.adobe.com/security.html or see the individual bulletins linked in each bullet point above.

Google

On December 1, Google released Chrome 55.0.2883.75 with 36 security fixes, including 12 rated high impact. Some of these vulnerabilities can be exploited to allow an attacker to take control of the system.

For more information, see the Google Chrome Releases blog at http://googlechromereleases.blogspot.com

Google also announced that beginning in January, Chrome will start notifying users when they visit a non-secure web site (a site without SSL encryption).

https://www.globalreach.com/about/blog/2016/12/15/googles-january-chrome-update-to-warn-users-of-not-secure-websites

On December 5, Google released a security bulletin for Android along with an Over the Air (OTA) update. The most severe of these issues are Critical security vulnerabilities in device-specific code that could enable arbitrary code execution within the context of the kernel, leading to the possibility of a local permanent device compromise, which may require reflashing the operating system to repair the device.   For more information, see the Android Security Bulletin for December at

https://source.android.com/security/bulletin/2016-12-01.html

Oracle

Oracle normally releases security updates on a quarterly cycle, in January, April, July and October.  The next regularly scheduled update will be released on January 17, 2017.

For more information about previously released patches, see Oracle’s Update Advisory at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/security-advisory/cpuoct2016-2881722.html

Mozilla

On December 13, Mozilla released Security Advisory 2016-94 and Firefox v50.1, which addresses five critical vulnerabilities, six high impact vulnerabilities, and three of moderate impact for a grand total of 14 security fixes.

These include memory corruption, improper validation, XSS injection, cross-origin information leakage, security bypass, buffer overflow and use-after-free issues. Impacts can include exploitable crash, arbitrary code execution and more.

For more information about those vulnerabilities and fixes, and to check for new version releases, see Mozilla’s web site at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/security/advisories/mfsa2016-94/

Linux

Popular Linux distros, as usual, have seen a number of security advisories and updates this month. As of the end of December, Ubuntu has issued 29 security notices this month, which is slightly fewer than usual. Many of these address multiple vulnerabilities and in some cases there are multiple advisories for the same vulnerabilities. Other commercial Linux vendors issued a similar number of updates. Here are the Ubuntu security advisories for December:

  • USN-3162-2: Linux kernel (Raspberry Pi 2) vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. CAI Qian discovered that shared bind mounts in a mount namespace exponentially added entries without restriction to the Linux kernel’s mount table. A local attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash).
  • USN-3162-1: Linux kernel vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. CAI Qian discovered that shared bind mounts in a mount namespace exponentially added entries without restriction to the Linux kernel’s mount table. A local attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash).
  • USN-3161-2: Linux kernel (Xenial HWE) vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. USN-3161-1 fixed vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This update provides the corresponding updates for the Linux Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Tilman Schmidt and Sasha Levin discovered a use-after-free condition in the TTY implementation in the Linux kernel.
  • USN-3161-1: Linux kernel vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. Tilman Schmidt and Sasha Levin discovered a use-after-free condition in the TTY implementation in the Linux kernel. A local attacker could use this to expose sensitive information (kernel memory).
  • USN-3160-2: Linux kernel (Trusty HWE) vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. USN-3160-1 fixed vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. This update provides the corresponding updates for the Linux Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
  • USN-3160-1: Linux kernel vulnerabilities – 20th December 2016. CAI Qian discovered that shared bind mounts in a mount namespace exponentially added entries without restriction to the Linux kernel’s mount table. A local attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash).
  • USN-3159-2: Linux kernel (OMAP4) vulnerability – 20th December 2016. It was discovered that a race condition existed in the procfs environ_read function in the Linux kernel, leading to an integer underflow. A local attacker could use this to expose sensitive information (kernel memory).
  • USN-3159-1: Linux kernel vulnerability – 20th December 2016. It was discovered that a race condition existed in the procfs environ_read function in the Linux kernel, leading to an integer underflow. A local attacker could use this to expose sensitive information (kernel memory).
  • USN-3158-1: Samba vulnerabilities – 19th December 2016. Frederic Besler and others discovered that the ndr_pull_dnsp_nam function in Samba contained an integer overflow. An authenticated attacker could use this to gain administrative privileges. This issue only affected Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 16.10.
  • USN-3156-2: APT regression – 16th December 2016. USN-3156-1 fixed vulnerabilities in APT. It also caused a bug in unattended-upgrades on that may require manual intervention to repair. Users on Ubuntu 16.10 should run the following commands at a terminal: sudo dpkg –configure –pending sudo apt-get -f install This update fixes the problem.
  • USN-3157-1: Apport vulnerabilities – 14th December 2016. Donncha O Cearbhaill discovered that the crash file parser in Apport improperly treated the CrashDB field as python code. An attacker could use this to convince a user to open a maliciously crafted crash file and execute arbitrary code with the privileges of that user.
  • USN-3155-1: Firefox vulnerabilities – 13th December 2016. Multiple security vulnerabilities were discovered in Firefox. If a user were tricked into opening a specially crafted website, an attacker could potentially exploit these to conduct cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, obtain sensitive information, cause a denial of service via application crash, or execute arbitrary code.
  • USN-3156-1: APT vulnerability – 13th December 2016. Jann Horn discovered that APT incorrectly handled InRelease files. If a remote attacker were able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack, this flaw could potentially be used to install altered packages.
  • USN-3153-1: Oxide vulnerabilities – 9th December 2016. Multiple vulnerabilities were discovered in Chromium. If a user were tricked into opening a specially crafted website, an attacker could potentially exploit these to conduct cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, read uninitialized memory, obtain sensitive information, spoof the webview URL, bypass same origin restrictions, and cause a denial of service.
  • USN-3154-1: OpenJDK 6 vulnerabilities – 7th December 2016. It was discovered that OpenJDK did not restrict the set of algorithms used for Jar integrity verification. An attacker could use this to modify without detection the content of a JAR file, affecting system integrity.
  • USN-3152-2: Linux kernel (Raspberry Pi 2) vulnerability – 5th December 2016.  Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3150-2: Linux kernel (OMAP4) vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3151-4: Linux kernel (Raspberry Pi 2) vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3151-3: Linux kernel (Qualcomm Snapdragon) vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3152-1: Linux kernel vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3151-2: Linux kernel (Xenial HWE) vulnerability – 5th December 2016. USN-3151-1 fixed vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This update provides the corresponding updates for the Linux Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel.
  • USN-3151-1: Linux kernel vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3150-1: Linux kernel vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3149-2: Linux kernel (Trusty HWE) vulnerability – 5th December 2016. USN-3149-1 fixed vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. This update provides the corresponding updates for the Linux Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel.
  • USN-3149-1: Linux kernel vulnerability – 5th December 2016. Philip Pettersson discovered a race condition in the af_packet implementation in the Linux kernel. A local unprivileged attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (system crash) or run arbitrary code with administrative privileges.
  • USN-3148-1: Ghostscript vulnerabilities – 1st December 2016. Tavis Ormandy discovered multiple vulnerabilities in the way that Ghostscript processes certain Postscript files. If a user or automated system were tricked into opening a specially crafted file, an attacker could cause a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code.
  • USN-3133-1: Oxide vulnerabilities – 1st December 2016. Multiple security vulnerabilities were discovered in Chromium. If a user were tricked into opening a specially crafted website, an attacker could potentially exploit these to obtain sensitive information, cause a denial of service via application crash, or execute arbitrary code.