Microsoft fixes IE memory problems

Windows and Office also got patches this month

Internet Explorer is getting major repairs, as Microsoft has issued 41 patches to fix memory vulnerabilities in its browser.

The Internet Explorer patches are part of the company's monthly "Patch Tuesday" routine release of security and bug fixes for its software products. Microsoft Office and both the desktop and server editions of Windows are also getting fixes in this batch.

Overall, Microsoft issued patches to cover 56 different vulnerabilities, which are bundled into nine separate security bulletins.

Three of the bulletins are marked as critical, meaning they fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious attackers without user intervention. System administrators should tend to critical vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. These bulletins cover Internet Explorer, and both the server and desktop editions of Windows.

All three collections of critical patches will require a reboot of the machine to take effect.

The patches in the Internet Explorer critical bulletin, which affects all versions of the browser, address the way the browser handles objects in memory. Microsoft has addressed the issue of memory vulnerabilities in its ASLR (address space layout randomization) technology. The patches add permissions validations to ensure Internet Explorer uses ASLR correctly.

Of the 41 Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, only one has been publicly disclosed, but it can only be used in conjunction with other vulnerabilities.

The remaining six bulletins are marked as important, which means they address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers usually by requiring the unwitting participation of the user, such as by tricking him or her into clicking on a specially crafted Web page.

In addition to releasing the patches, Microsoft did other security housecleaning Tuesday.

It has re-released a patch for Microsoft Excel. It has expanded its auditing capabilities in the newer versions of Windows. It has revised a security advisory on how to limit data leakage that could stem from the Security Sockets Layer version 3.0.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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