Feeds

Microsoft's delay to patch fuels concerns

Upto the month security policy

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft's decision to cancel a security fix after finding problems with the patch has security experts questioning whether waiting for the fix to come next month might leave them open to attack.

The concerns come after Microsoft announced last Thursday that a critical fix for the Windows operating system would be distributed in the following week. The next day, the software giant pulled the planned patch due to quality issues, according to Mike Reavey, operations manager for the Microsoft Security Research Center.

"Late in the testing process, we encountered a quality issue that we decided was significant enough that it required some more testing and development before releasing it," Reavey said in a posting to the MSRC Blog. "We have made a commitment to only release high-quality updates that fix the issues at hand, and therefore we felt it was in the best interest of our customers to not release this update until it undergoes further testing."

The few details that the software giant has provided - the flaw is a critical bug in Windows and does not require a reboot to fix - will not likely help would-be flaw finders to narrow their search. If the company had actually released a flawed patch, attackers could have reverse engineered the fix to find the original flaw. Since no real details of the issue were published, however, there is little danger, a spokesperson for the software giant said.

Yet, the move has left network administrators feeling vulnerable. The knowledge that a critical flaw is being left untended has security researchers second guessing whether Microsoft plans to release the patch next month, and if so, has the company's focus on regularly scheduled patching put them in danger.

"There's knowledge of a flaw and, because (Microsoft) can't meet the deadline of the next few days, they're going to delay it a month," said one member of the DShield mailing list. "So from a security point of view, we have a hole that is known but not patched."

The person who posted the criticism did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.

Microsoft has not specified when the company plans to release the patch. The release schedule will be determined by "customer need," a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

While another month's ferment may not make the current vulnerability more threatening, the move towards scheduled patches generally makes corporate customers less secure, said Marc Maiffret, chief hacking officer for eEye Digital Security and a critic of scheduled security updates.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.