Windows and Apple Mac users warned of Microsoft security holes which could lead to hacker attack

May 14, 2008 Sophos Press Release

Microsoft has rated four of the vulnerabilities as 'critical'
Microsoft has rated four of the vulnerabilities as 'critical'.

Experts at Sophos have advised businesses using Windows and Apple Macs to take action as Microsoft issues a warning of critical security flaws in its software.

As part of its monthly "Patch Tuesday" schedule Microsoft has issued a number of bulletins about six security vulnerabilities in its software. The list of affected software includes Microsoft Office (both Windows and Mac versions), Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft's security products Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft Antigen, Microsoft Windows Defender, and Microsoft Forefront Security.

Four of the vulnerabilities, which appear in Microsoft's Jet Database Engine and in nearly every edition of Microsoft Office, have been tagged as "critical", and could allow a hacker to gain remote control over a user's computer or install malicious code.

"As can be seen by this month's bunch of updates, Microsoft security patches aren't just important for Windows users. Apple business users would be wise to take heed of them too," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "As internet criminals become more organized and financially-motivated it is more important than ever to ensure that your business is properly defended with the latest patches."

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.

How can Network Access Control help your business?

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.

"NAC identifies managed, unmanaged and guest computers that do not comply with your security policy, and acts as a vital tool when dealing with newly reported security vulnerabilities such as these," explained Cluley. "It is possible to quickly assess, for instance, which computers are incorrectly patched or have their firewall disabled. You may then choose to automatically fix vulnerabilities before allowing the PCs to access your network, or simply block non-compliant computers."

Sophos continues to recommend companies protect their desktops and servers with automatically updated protection against viruses, spyware, hackers, and spam.