With National Cybersecurity Awareness Month being the perfect backdrop, Microsoft fixes 84 vulnerabilities including two zero days in this October’s Patch Tuesday. While one of the zero-day vulnerabilities is being actively exploited, the other has been disclosed publicly.

After an initial discussion about this month’s updates, we’ll offer our advice for devising a plan to handle patch management in a hybrid work environment. You can also register for our free Patch Tuesday webinar and listen to our experts break down Patch Tuesday updates in detail.

What is Patch Tuesday?

Patch Tuesday falls on the second Tuesday of every month. On this day, Microsoft releases security and non-security updates for its operating system and other related applications. Since Microsoft has upheld this process of releasing updates in a periodic manner, IT admins expect these updates and have time to gear up for them.

Why is Patch Tuesday important?

Important security updates and patches to fix critical bugs or vulnerabilities are released on Patch Tuesday. Usually zero-day vulnerabilities are also fixed during Patch Tuesday unless the vulnerability is critical and highly exploited, in which case an out-of-band security update is released to address that particular vulnerability.

October 2022 Patch Tuesday: Security updates lineup

Security updates were released for the following products, features, and roles 

  • Active Directory Domain Services

  • Azure

  • Azure Arc

  • Client Server Run-time Subsystem (CSRSS)

  • Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based)

  • Microsoft Graphics Component

  • Microsoft Office

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint

  • Microsoft Office Word

  • Microsoft WDAC OLE DB provider for SQL

  • NuGet Client

  • Remote Access Service Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

  • Role: Windows Hyper-V

  • Service Fabric

  • Visual Studio Code

  • Windows Active Directory Certificate Services

  • Windows ALPC

  • Windows CD-ROM Driver

  • Windows COM+ Event System Service

  • Windows Connected User Experiences and Telemetry

  • Windows CryptoAPI

  • Windows Defender

  • Windows DHCP Client

  • Windows Distributed File System (DFS)

  • Windows DWM Core Library

  • Windows Event Logging Service

  • Windows Group Policy

  • Windows Group Policy Preference Client

  • Windows Internet Key Exchange (IKE) Protocol

  • Windows Kernel

  • Windows Local Security Authority (LSA)

  • Windows Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS)

  • Windows Local Session Manager (LSM)

  • Windows NTFS

  • Windows NTLM

  • Windows ODBC Driver

  • Windows Perception Simulation Service

  • Windows Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

  • Windows Portable Device Enumerator Service

  • Windows Print Spooler Components

  • Windows Resilient File System (ReFS)

  • Windows Secure Channel

  • Windows Security Support Provider Interface

  • Windows Server Remotely Accessible Registry Keys

  • Windows Server Service

  • Windows Storage

  • Windows TCP/IP

  • Windows USB Serial Driver

  • Windows Web Account Manager

  • Windows Win32K

  • Windows WLAN Service

  • Windows Workstation Service

Learn more in the MSRC’s release notes.

Two zero-day vulnerabilities patched

October’s Patch Tuesday comes with updates for two zero-day vulnerabilities identified in Windows COM+ Event System Service and Microsoft Office.

  • CVE-2022-41033 – Windows COM+ Event System Service Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability

Per Microsoft’s advisory, “An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain SYSTEM privileges.”

  • CVE-2022-41043 –  Microsoft Office Information Disclosure Vulnerability

According to Microsoft, this vulnerability could be leveraged by attackers to gain access to a user’s authentication tokens.

No fixes for Microsoft Exchange zero days

GTSC, a Vietnamese cybersecurity company, discovered two zero days in Microsoft Exchange in late September. The vulnerabilities, being actively exploited have been tracked as CVE-2022-41040 and CVE-2022-41082 and have been dubbed as ProxyNotShell.

However, no fixes have been released for the two zero days in this month’s Patch Tuesday. Microsoft in its security bulletin said that the fixes are not yet available but will be released once they are.

Meanwhile, they have shared steps to mitigate those vulnerabilities, which can be found here.

Third-party updates released after last month’s Patch Tuesday

Third-party vendors such as Google, Apple, SAP, Cisco, Fortinet, and VMware have released updates after last month’s Patch Tuesday.

Best practices to handle patch management in a hybrid work environment

Most organizations have opted to embrace remote work even after they have been cleared to return to the office. This decision poses various challenges to IT admins, especially in terms of managing and securing distributed endpoints.

Here are a few pointers to simplify the process of remote patching:

  • Disable automatic updates because one faulty patch could bring down the whole system. IT admins can educate end users on how to disable automatic updates on their machines. Patch Manager Plus and Endpoint Central also have a dedicated patch, 105427, that can be deployed to endpoints to ensure that automatic updates are disabled.

  • Create a restore point—a backup or image that captures the state of the machines—before deploying big updates like those from Patch Tuesday.

  • Establish a patching schedule and keep end users informed about it. It is recommended to set up a time for deploying patches and rebooting systems. Let end users know what needs to be done on their end for trouble-free patching.

  • Test the patches on a pilot group of systems before deploying them to the production environment. This will ensure that the patches do not interfere with the workings of other applications.

  • Since many users are working from home, they all might be working different hours; in this case, you can allow end users to skip deployment and scheduled reboots. This will give them the liberty to install updates at their convenience and avoid disrupting their work. Our patch management products come with options for user-defined deployment and reboot.

  • Most organizations are deploying patches using a VPN. To stop patch tasks from eating up your VPN bandwidth, install Critical patches and security updates first. You might want to hold off on deploying feature packs and cumulative updates since they are bulky updates and consume a lot of bandwidth.

  • Schedule the non-security updates and security updates that are not rated Critical to be deployed after Patch Tuesday, such as during the third or fourth week of the month. You can also choose to decline certain updates if you feel they are not required in your environment.

  • Run patch reports to get a detailed view of the health status of your endpoints.

  • For machines belonging to users returning to the office after working remotely, check if they are compliant with your security policies. If not, quarantine them.

  • Install the latest updates and feature packs before deeming your back-to-office machines fit for production.

  • Take inventory of and remove apps that are now obsolete for your back-to-office machines, like remote collaboration software.

With Endpoint Central or Patch Manager Plus, you can completely automate the entire process of patch management, from testing patches to deploying them. You can also tailor patch tasks according to your current needs. For a hands-on experience with either of these products, try a free, 30-day trial and keep thousands of applications patched and secure.

Want to learn more about Patch Tuesday updates? Join our experts as they break down this month’s Patch Tuesday updates and offer in-depth analysis. You can also ask our experts questions and get answers to all your Patch Tuesday questions. Register for our free Patch Tuesday webinar.

Ready, get set, patch!