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  1. #1
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    After 30 years, the PC is finally secure




    PATCH WATCH


    After 30 years, the PC is finally secure


    By Susan Bradley

    Just as the IBM PC turns 30, Microsoft's Windows is finally dropping out of the Top 10 list of most vulnerable software.

    It's no small irony that, as we're supposedly entering the post-PC era, we've finally figured out how to secure them — mostly.

    The full text of this column is posted at Windowssecrets.com/patch-watch/after-30-years-the-PC-is-finally-secure// (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2011-08-24 at 16:14.

  2. #2
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    The list of updates and the recommendations is probably very valuable, but when I am logged in to Windows Update, the update numbers are not shown, neither are the KB numbers until the list of 'updates applied' is shown.
    Trying to cross-reference the updates is time-consuming and frustrating, so I have just been avoiding .NET updates and anything whose description seems inappropriate.
    I still get episodes of 'funny' behaviour after updates however, and perhaps twice a year I need to use a restore point.
    The next update seems to be OK, and probably corrects the fault!

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    Secunia and Flexnet

    Secunia has recently reported that Flexnet, which is apparetly resident in most computers, is insecure. When I tried to apply the patch, Windows sternly adviced me that the patch was dangerous and should be deleted rather than applied, and so I didn't install it. I checked various websites and forums on the subject, including Secunia's and Flexnet's, and found a range of responses, from apply it, to it doesn't install, to it's pointless to mess with it until Flexnet does a real update.

    Nowhere could I find what the real danger was and to whom.

    Do any of the WS experts know what's going on?

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    Missing Patches

    Susan, thanks for all you do. Questions: Status of Silverlight 2512827 and .Net 3.5.1 2539635?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I think saying that Windows is finally secure is misleading. Just because it is more secure than a couple of apps doesn't make it secure as evidenced by the continual stream of security updates it puts out. Windows is still less secure than Apple and Linux. I like Windows for its ecomiics and wide range of applications. It's secure enough for me as long as I keep up with the updates and have a reasonable amount of antimalware software installed. But I've come to recognize that the best choice for non techies that only want to browse the internet, read email,and do Facebook is an Ipad.

    Jerry

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Couldn't agree with Jerry more. Windows is not to be celebrated for climbing out of the bottom of the heap into the middle. It still leaves much to be desired from a security standpoint.

    Thank you, Susan, for updating the status of Java Runtimes. I use an update alerting program called SUMo (ad-free version). That application keeps telling me that JRE 6 is out of date and I should upgrade to JRE 7. But JRE 7 is not recognized by OpenOffice/LibreOffice, and many other programs. Thanks for clearing up that issue.

    I believe it is this sort of confusion over which versions will break which applications, which keeps most folks from running up to date, secure versions of Adobe Reader and especially Flash Player. The same fear of breakage (for Extensions) may be holding Firefox users back from accepting Versions 4 through 7. Until the confusion and developer lag-time issues are addressed better, I think we will always see a lot of folks running obsolete versions of Adobe and Mozilla products. And also Java Runtimes, to some extent. Any thoughts on this, Susan?

    By the way, Firefox users who are afraid of losing Extensions or Profiles when upgrading Firefox (or Thunderbird) can use MozBackup to back up and restore profiles. It gives me some peace of mind.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-08-25 at 16:19.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Anyone who still thinks that Windows is less secure than Apple & Linux should read Apple security under attack and then check the security database mentioned in the article. You'll be surprised. I just is not that way anymore.

    Joe

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Very interesting article Joe. Note that this was written by the principal security architect for Microsoft. As one of the commenters menioned:

    This article is very much at odds with a number of other articles that I have read recently:

    Experts: OS X now much more secure than rivals
    http://www.macnn.com/articles/...
    or
    http://is.gd/20R6VD

    Lion Security: Building on the iOS Foundation
    http://tidbits.com/article/124...
    "...we have security options never before available to consumers"

    Major overhaul makes OS X Lion king of security
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2...
    All Mac owners I know don't run any security apps and have never been infected. I couldn't imagine running Windows without a security application. I am not an apple fanboy. I don't own a single Apple product including the IPod. The cost benefit isn't there for me. But with thier rigid control of the hardware, "they just work". If they became competitively priced with windows PCs, I would own one in a minute.
    Jerry


  9. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    After 30 years, the PC is finally secure
    By Susan Bradley

    Just as the IBM PC turns 30, Microsoft's Windows is finally dropping out of the Top 10 list of most vulnerable software.

    It's no small irony that, as we're supposedly entering the post-PC era, we've finally figured out how to secure them — mostly.
    I fully agree, the PC has never been more secure than it is now.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2011-09-05 at 15:54.

  10. #10
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    Just because it is written by a Microsoft security architect does not mean it is invalid. I knew that would be commented on by someone. Just look at the security database linked to in the article. Pay attention to the details of Apple OSX updates about how many security fixes are included. Apple is anything but transparent about issues in general and security problems in particular.

    If Apple has been "intrinsically better forever" and still why then did they hire a former Microsoft security person and adopt a development life cycle based on Microsoft's SDL?

    Another article - Experts weigh in on MAC vs PC security.

    This is another never ending argument.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    Apple is anything but transparent about issues in general and security problems in particular.
    You have no need to be nice to Apple, Joe . They actually do worse than not being transparent.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Joe,
    This is another never ending argument
    Amen. It really doesn't matter as long as we are happy with what we are using. Windows or Apple.

    Jerry

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    Arrow KB numbers are visible in Windows Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Poltor View Post
    The list of updates and the recommendations is probably very valuable, but when I am logged in to Windows Update, the update numbers are not shown, neither are the KB numbers until the list of 'updates applied' is shown.
    KB numbers are always visible in the "Select updates to install" page. On the main Windows Update page, click "...important updates are available" to see the "Select..." page.

    Some update titles are so long that the KB number (always at the end) is obscured. Just click on that item (not the check box, but the item text) and the full text will appear in the right-hand pane.

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    Question More items just disappeared from the Patch Watch list

    Again, some patches just disappeared since last month without comment or explanation. This time it was the .Net Framework 4 patches that we have been sitting on for 2-3 months.

    Where did they go, and what should we do? Did .Net 4 suddenly get better?

  15. #15
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    Hi, Susan. I'm pretty new to this site. I'm running Win7 Pro 64-bit, although I don't do any programming. I wonder what exactly the .NET Framework is, and do I need it? It keeps showing up in my Windows Update list, and until recently I just installed the updates because the were listed as "important". Your advice seems to contradict that for most users. How do I tell if I need .NET Framework 4?

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