Microsoft delivers first non-Patch Tuesday fix for Windows Store apps

It is Tuesday, but not the second of the month, and even though there is no emergency patch, a security fix for Mail through Microsoft’s Windows Store is available.

Due to a Mail, Calendar and People feature update Microsoft released today for Windows 8 PCs running apps through Microsoft’s Windows Store app store, most users will likely be updating Microsoft’s apps today anyway.

However, they will also be installing the first ever security update Microsoft has delivered through Windows Store. The Modern UI tile-based Mail app, according to Microsoft, is vulnerable to a moderately severe spoofing flaw.

In a Knowledge Base article documenting the flaw, Microsoft notes:

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could make a link to a malicious website seem to be a link to another, trusted website.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sending an email message that has specially formatted HTML.

The flaw affects Windows Store applications running on Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Server 2012, however Windows Server 2012 Server Core installations are not affected.

Microsoft flagged earlier this month that it would begin a new ‘patch on the fly‘ approach for security flaws affecting its “Modern” (formerly Metro) UI tile-based apps distributed through Windows Store.

Security updates would be released whenever it had them rather than save them for the predictable Patch Tuesdays rhythm it has set for desktop applications for over a decade. Even though the Windows Store app updates would fall outside that cycle, they would not necessarily be out-of-band, it said.

Windows 8 users will be able to install the security update via the “Windows Store Apps update” feature, which Microsoft explained in some detail yesterday announcing the feature update for Mail, Calendar and People apps.

Users will need to “just tap or click on the ‘Updates‘ link that appears in the top right-hand corner of the Windows Store to install the update,” explained Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc in the Windows blog yesterday.

“If you have the Windows Store pinned to your Start screen, its live tile will alert you that you have an update available. You are required to go to the Windows Store to get the update as it won’t install automatically,” wrote Le Blanc.

The updated Mail app will offers some basic but likely welcome features, including a filtered view of unread emails, and the ability to create and delete folders within the app. It also will allow users to select all items within a folder and move or delete them.

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