Feeds

Microsoft backtracks on WMF patch

Releases early

Reducing security risks from open source software

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.®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.