Patch Tuesday – two words that will bring some amount of fear in the hearts of many Microsoft Windows administrators. It’s the day of the month (usually the second Tuesday) when Microsoft releases its monthly batch of software updates across the entire family of Microsoft products. Most of the time updates will just be applied without any problems (other than the mandatory system restart) but every now and then things just don’t go as planned … in some very extreme cases the updates lead to blue screens, application crashes and pretty much all-nighters for the stressed Windows admins.
To some extent a little bit of this happened this week. On 11/11/14 Microsoft made available the updates for November 2014. Among the various updates a particular one of notice is MS14-066 (KB2992611) – https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/MS14-066.
It’s a security patch marked as critical affecting pretty much every operating system (both client and server) that Microsoft currently supports. The ‘critical’ label comes from the fact that it fixes a remote code execution bug which pretty much means that an attacker can do something bad to a system without any action being needed on part of the user. This particular patch deals with a problem in SChannel which is Microsoft’s component that deals with https traffic and cryptography.
It was pretty hard to read the news this week and not come across some story or article that referred to MS14-066 as the Windows Shellshock bug (in reference to Shellshock and Heartbleed – two very serious security bugs that were discovered in the last few months affecting the open source community and *nix operating systems in particular). Bottom line – this is one patch for Windows that you want to install as soon as possible especially if you maintain IIS web servers that run https sites.