The internet can be a fun place, but it can also be dangerous. Hackers are going to hack, after all, and you might just be in their crosshairs. One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself is to keep your PC up to date with the latest security patches — and Microsoft dropped a new one yesterday.
As reported by Bleeping Computer, Microsoft pushed its latest Patch Tuesday update yesterday, May 9. With it, the company fixed 38 different issues within Windows, most notably including three zero-day vulnerabilities.
These vulnerabilities are particularly nasty. Zero-day vulnerabilities, as Microsoft identifies them, are flaws that are either publicly disclosed or actively exploited without having a patch available at the time. That means these three flaws were, at best, known about by individuals outside Microsoft, or, at worst, actively being used to target and attack Windows users. In this case, however, we know two of these zero-days were exploited in previous attacks. The other zero-day was publicly disclosed.
One of the actively exploited zero-days, identified as CVE-2023-29336, is a privilege elevation vulnerability in the Win32K Kernel driver. It allows bad actors to elevate privileges to SYSTEM, which is the highest privilege level possible on Windows. That would enable malicious users to run tasks and actions on your system in ways they wouldn’t be able to with standard permissions.
The other actively exploited zero-day, CVE-2023-24932, is a secure boot bypass vulnerability that allows bad actors to install the BlackLotus UEFI bootkit. UEFI bootkits like BlackLotus are a specific type of malware that evades security software because they run at the beginning of the Windows boot sequence. Microsoft has additional instructions for protecting yourself from this vulnerability here.
Both of these zero-days are bad news, and, as such, you should install this latest Patch Tuesday update as quickly as possible. But there are also 36 other vulnerabilities that make the update important as well. In order of quantity, this update contains patches for:
- 12 remote code execution vulnerabilities
- 8 elevation of privilege vulnerabilities
- 8 information disclosure vulnerabilities
- 5 denial of service vulnerabilities
- 4 security feature bypass vulnerabilities
- 1 spoofing vulnerability
You can find a full list of the vulnerabilities patched in this update in this report from Microsoft.
How to install Microsoft’s latest Patch Tuesday update on your PC
To install these 38 patches on your PC, update the software as you normally would. If you’re running Windows 11, go to Start > Settings > Windows Update. On Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Remember: Even though Microsoft stopped feature updates for Windows 10, it still supports security updates for the older OS, at least for now.