Feeds

Microsoft backtracks on WMF patch

Releases early

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.