Feeds

Microsoft backtracks on WMF patch

Releases early

New hybrid storage solutions

Microsoft has yielded to pressure and released a patch for the latest Windows security vulnerability – breaking its regular once-a-month update schedule.

The software giant has issued a software patch for the Windows Meta File (WMF) vulnerability that was uncovered on 27 December and confirmed on 28 December. Microsoft had initially planned to release the patch with other software updates and fixes on 10 January. The patch, MS06-001, is available here.

Microsoft's decision followed mounting criticism that it was leaving millions of users vulnerable to a growing number of WMF attacks, while experts had advised users to take the unprecedented step of downloading non-Microsoft fixes.

In a statement, Microsoft said it was acting following "strong customer sentiment that the release should be made available as soon as possible".

The u-turn comes in the same week that Microsoft had attempted to sooth concerns and silence critics by saying that, although the WMF vulnerability was serious and malicious attacks were being attempted by hackers, "Microsoft's intelligence sources indicated that the scope of the attacks are not widespread."

According to Microsoft, the WMF vulnerability only affects machines running Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, XP SP 1 and SP 2, XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Server 2003 and Server 2003 SP 1 and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition.

Older versions of Windows – Windows 98, 98 Second Edition and Millennium Edition – are going unpatched. While these versions of Windows do contain the affected component, Microsoft said the vulnerability is not critical because an "exploitable attack vector" has not been identified that would justify a critical severity rating. Microsoft will only release updates for "critical" security issues on these dating operating systems.

Users still running Windows NT and pre SP 4 versions of Windows 2000 also get nothing because these have reached the end of Microsoft's mandated support lifecycles. Instead, Microsoft has advised users to upgrade to later editions of Windows.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Leak of '5 MEELLLION Gmail passwords' creates security flap
You should be OK if you're not using ANCIENT password
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Enigmail PGP plugin forgets to encrypt mail sent as blind copies
User now 'waiting for the bad guys come and get me with their water-boards'
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.