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'We are screwed!' Fonts eat a bullet in Microsoft security patch

Eternal vigilance is the price of wingdings

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Updated Windows users were surprised to find that a Microsoft security update stopped fonts from working on their PCs.

Security update KB2753842 has killed certain fonts on PCs where it has been installed, rendering many of them unusable, and causing problems for designers and businesses who rely on using the types in their work.

Intended to cover a weakness in the OpenType Compact Font Format (CFF) driver, the update was marked "high priority" but many users have uninstalled it because it causes many fonts to stop working.

A commenter on design blog GraphicsUnleashed explained the damage it was causing his/her business:

CorelDraw is screwed, Quark is screwed, WE ARE SCREWED. We have client jobs that we cannot work on thanks to this update.

Uninstalling the patch restores fonts, but this presumably leaves users open to the security risks that Microsoft was trying to fight. A second commenter mused on the danger that Microsoft was trying to patch:

I have thousands of fonts and have yet to see (or hear) of one that would trigger the security problems supposedly resolved by this update. If there is truly such a huge security risk, Microsoft needs to find a way to close the security hole without causing so many valid fonts to stop working.

Since the publication of the story, the group manager of Microsoft's Response Communications team, Dustin Childs, has been in touch with El Reg. He said: "We are aware of an issue with MS12-078 that could cause select fonts to stop working once the update is installed. We are actively investigating this issue and will take appropriate actions as necessary to help protect our customers." ®

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