Feeds

Rootkit blamed for Blue Screen patch update snafu

Malware is probable cause of Win XP freeze, MS confirms

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The presence of a hard-to-detect rootkit may have caused Windows XP machines to freeze up after applying a patch from Microsoft last week, according to preliminary analysis of the problem from Microsoft's security team.

Microsoft's users forums filled up with reports of Windows XP users experiencing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) after applying the 13 patches released by Redmond last week. The problem was later linked to one specific update - MS10-015 - a patch for an "important" kernel flaw - and it was discovered that uninstalling this package unfroze affected machines.

The Blue Screen problem affected a minority of machines but was far from isolated, with many reported cases. Subsequent security sleuthing by sysadmin Patrick Barnes revealed that Windows XP machines that hit a brick wall after applying the update may have been infected with the TDSS rootkit.

Microsoft's security team has since confirmed that the malware may explain the Blue Screen issue in many cases, without ruling out other possibilities.

In our continuing investigation into the restart issues related to MS10-015 that a limited number of customers are experiencing, we have determined that malware on the system can cause the behavior. We are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time and are still investigating.

Microsoft is asking affected users to send memory dumps in order to aid its ongoing investigation. But it acknowledges this is tricky when users who hit the problem are left with unbootable machines.

Redmond's security team suggested on Thursday that users may want to hold off on the potentially troublesome MS010-015 update and apply a workaround for that particular problem instead. Sysadmins following this advice are strongly advised to apply the other 12 patches issued by Microsoft last Tuesday. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.