Microsoft releases emergency security updates for Windows and Visual Studio

Microsoft has released two out of band security updates to address security issues for the Windows Codec Library and the Visual Studio Code application. Both updates come after the company released its monthly batch of security updates last Tuesday, fixing 87 vulnerabilities this month.

Both of these new vulnerabilities are “remote code execution” vulnerabilities, allowing attackers to execute code on affected systems.

Windows Codec Library Vulnerability

The first bug is tracked as CVE-2020-17022. Microsoft claims that attackers can create malicious images which, when processed by an application running on Windows, can allow the attacker to execute code on an unpatched Windows operating system.

All versions of Windows 10 are affected. Microsoft has stated that an update for this library will be automatically installed on users’ systems through the Microsoft Store.

Not all users are affected, but only those who have installed the optional HEVC or “HEVC from Device Manufacturer” media codecs from Microsoft Store. HEVC is not available for offline distribution and is only available through the Microsoft Store. The library is also not supported on Windows Server.

To check and see if you are using a vulnerable HEVC codec, users can go to Settings, Apps ; Features, and select HEVC, Advanced Options. The secure versions are 1.0.32762.0, 1.0.32763.0 and later.

Visual Studio code vulnerability

The second bug is tracked as CVE-2020-17023. Microsoft claims that attackers can create malicious packet .json files which, when loaded into Visual Studio code, can execute malicious code.

Depending on the user’s permissions, an attacker’s code could run with the privileges of an administrator and allow him full control of an infected host. Package.json files are regularly used with JavaScript libraries and projects. JavaScript, and in particular its server-side Node.js technology, is one of the most popular technologies today.

Visual Studio Code users are advised to update the app as soon as possible to the latest version.

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