One of the security bulletins has been rated as critical by
Experts at Sophos have advised companies to keep up-to-date with
the latest Microsoft security patches and consider the benefits of
Network Access Control (NAC) in light of the announcement of new
security flaws affecting Windows.
As part of its monthly "Patch Tuesday" schedule Microsoft has
issued two new bulletins (one of them described as "critical")
about security vulnerabilities in its software. The vulnerabilities
- the first announced by Microsoft so far this year - cover
different versions of the Windows operating system, including
Windows XP and Vista.
The more serious of the bulletins addresses a Windows TCP/IP
vulnerability that could allow a remote code execution, giving an
attacker complete control of the system with no user
Sophos recommends that organizations roll-out the patches as a
matter of urgency, as some of them could enable hackers to access
data on a vulnerable PC or run malicious code such as a worm.
Network Access Control enables companies to control who and what
is allowed onto their network; blocking unauthorized users,
controlling guest access, and ensuring compliance with a business's
security policy. By implementing NAC firms reduce the risk of
unauthorized, guest, non-compliant, or infected systems
compromising the network, ensuring that only correctly secured
computers gain network access.
A poll recently published by Sophos found that 70 percent of
those surveyed believe that 2008 will actually be just
as bad or worse for IT security than 2007.
"2008 is likely to be a similar story to 2007 on the patch
front, with a stream of vulnerabilities coming to light that home
users and businesses need to protect themselves against. Leaving
your computers unpatched means that you are risking becoming the
victim of a hacker attack," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant at Sophos. "Network Access Control
can help organizations enforce security policies, ensuring that any
non-compliant device is locked down and unable to jeopardize the
Home users of Microsoft Windows can visit update.microsoft.com to have their systems scanned for
Microsoft security vulnerabilities.
Sophos suggests that every IT manager responsible for security
should consider subscribing to vulnerability mailing lists such as
that operated by Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/notify.mspx.
Sophos continues to recommend companies protect their desktops
and servers with automatically updated
protection against viruses, spyware, hackers, and spam.