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  1. #1
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    Remote access leads to remote attacks




    PATCH WATCH


    Remote access leads to remote attacks


    By Susan Bradley

    KB 2621440 is the one patch released this Patch Tuesday that needs to be installed immediately on all computers and servers that use Microsoft's Remote Desktop app.

    Remote Desktop is used on many computers and servers for remote access. If you use it, patch it now!

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/patch-watch/remote-access-leads-to-remote-attacks/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    suggestion : have a link in the newsletter for a complete ( OK, maybe not "complete", but at least for a MUCH longer time span than the one on the newsletter) updated list, ordered by patch number, so the user can quickly locate any patch being offered by windows update. We may skip some update, but sometimes they show up again and then is very hard to find in which newsletter the patch was reviewed.
    thank you

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    Ms. Bradley:

    The latest Patch Warch (15-Mar-12) has an ambiguity for XP users (including me). You wrote: "What to do: Install KB 2647518 after installing the patch in MS12-020." But earlier you said that XP users wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) see MS12-020. So I'm uncertain whether KB2647518 will show up (either as High Priority or other) when I run Windows Update later this evening.

    You write a great column, and I appreciate it very much, now that I have switched back to the full Windows Secrets version given that I'm almost finished upgrading my Win2kSp4 computer to XPsp3, after the Schwab website stopped working in Win2kSp4. (I felt safe with Win2kSp4 because my Eset security software continued to support it.) I'll be sticking with XP until at least its end of life (08 April 2014) to see if Win8 by then has a start menu, and I hope at least one Service Pack. Win7's life expires in 2020, and I don't want to go through an unnecessary upgrade then if sticking with XP lets me move to Win8.

    In short, I'm fairly sure that many others will stick with XP until the last minute, either for my reasons or others.

    Thanks again for the column.

    Roger Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2012-03-18 at 11:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    The latest Patch Warch (15-Mar-12) has an ambiguity for XP users (including me). You wrote: "What to do: Install KB 2647518 after installing the patch in MS12-020." But earlier you said that XP users wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) see MS12-120. So I'm uncertain whether KB2647518 will show up (either as High Priority or other) when I run Windows Update later this evening.
    I think you misread which patch was followed by "(Windows XP users should not see this patch.)" That came after MS12-019 (2665364).

    MS12-020 (2621440) said "What to do: Install KB 2621440 as soon as possible on all current versions of Windows,"

    So you're due for 2621440 and 2647518 (amongst others).

    Bruce

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    patch watch - keeping updated confusion

    trying to use the patch watch column as my bible, but having frustration knowing what the latest status is. I thought basically looking at the table at the end of the column, anything not listed is assumed to have been previously listed as safe to install. In fact, that's what's implied in the head of the table. Could be a mistake, but for example KB2603229 was previously listed as a skip, not listed at all this week. There are one or two more examples. Bottom line, if I look at the latest table and the patch isn't listed, can one assume its safe to install?

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    Bruce: You are right; I misread the numbers.

    For what it's worth, Microsoft Updates (which I'm using because apparently it is more inclusive than Windows Updates) installed the following items:
    Security Update for Windows XP (KB2621440)
    Security Update for Windows XP (KB2641653)
    Update Rollup for ActiveX Killbits for Windows XP (KB2647518)

    plus the usual Malicious Software tool. (But once I had seen the updates offered, I had dinner, and when I got back from dinner I didn't know whether the Malicious Software tool had actually checked anything, or just downloaded for future use. With Win2k I knew that the Malicious Software tool had actually checked things, but as a new XP user I don't know how the XP Malicious Software tool download works.)

    Roger Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2012-03-18 at 11:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    plus the usual Malicious Software tool. (But once I had seen the updates offered, I had dinner, and when I got back from dinner I didn't know whether the Malicious Software tool had actually checked anything, or just downloaded for future use. With Win2k I knew that the Malicious Software tool had actually checked things, but as a new XP user I don't know how the XP Malicious Software tool download works.)
    It does run a scan after download, but only informs you if anything nasty is found:

    Note The version of the tool delivered by Microsoft Update and Windows Update runs in the background and then reports if a malware infection is found.
    To run this tool more than once a month, use the version on this web page or install the version that is available in the Download Center.
    Malicious Software Removal Tool

    Bruce

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    Larry: I would guess that if a patch is not listed, it's safe to install, even if it was listed in the past. My guess is based on the idea that the previously listed item has been replaced or fixed by a more recent patch.

    On the other hand: After upgrading from Win2kSp4 to WinXPSp3 two weeks ago, my first set of updates contained 113 patches, and on a hunch, immediately after installing those and restarting I ran Microsoft Update again and got two more. These all were Hi-Priority updates. With such a large quantity of updates, it would be easy for someone to make a mistake (as I did, as Bruce pointed out).

    Roger Folsom

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    Bruce: Thanks for the information and the link. Roger Folsom

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    Quote Originally Posted by larrygaia View Post
    Could be a mistake, but for example KB2603229 was previously listed as a skip, not listed at all this week.
    That one is certainly very odd, and all Susan Bradley has succeeded in doing is to make a confusing situation even more confusing:

    2603229
    A confusing Registry fix for 64-bit systems
    What to do: Until I can better understand which machines are impacted by this update and report back, pass on KB 2603229

    October 27, 2011 = Wait
    November 10, 2011 = Wait
    November 23, 2011 = Wait
    December 15, 2011 = Skip
    January 12, 2012 = Skip
    January 26, 2012 = Skip
    February 16, 2012 = Skip
    March 1, 2012 = GONE!

    I installed this recommended update immediately, as I do with ALL updates: I'd rather deal with a "bad" patch once every five or ten years than try to track contradictory opinions.
    (Especially since the Windows Secrets newsletter archive site can't even cope with a backslash in any disk path name or registry key )

    Does anyone find the Patch Watch list easy to use and actually useful in its current form?

    Bruce

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    I still can't figure out what 2603229 the patch exactly fixes. I didn't list it because I've listed it as a wait for three times and a skip for the rest. 6 months is my cut off time for listing it. For those readers that want to know exactly what an update does and only allow those that they understand, I don't have a list of what specific 32bit apps need this. I don't see issues installing it, I don't see issues NOT installing it.

    I'm erring on the side of not installing because I'm not convinced it does anything. You can decide to disagree and install it. My apologies if I assumed that everyone would understand that unless I specifically said that a patch was okay after saying skip for so long that it meant to skip. I'd like to keep a long term list of those that "age off" the bottom list (as it's getting REALLY long list down there) but still working out some issues to see if we can do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanBradley View Post
    I still can't figure out what 2603229 the patch exactly fixes. I didn't list it because I've listed it as a wait for three times and a skip for the rest. 6 months is my cut off time for listing it. For those readers that want to know exactly what an update does and only allow those that they understand, I don't have a list of what specific 32bit apps need this. I don't see issues installing it, I don't see issues NOT installing it.

    I'm erring on the side of not installing because I'm not convinced it does anything. You can decide to disagree and install it. My apologies if I assumed that everyone would understand that unless I specifically said that a patch was okay after saying skip for so long that it meant to skip. I'd like to keep a long term list of those that "age off" the bottom list (as it's getting REALLY long list down there) but still working out some issues to see if we can do it.
    This particular patch sounds really innocuous. Any reason to think that it doesn't do exactly what Microsoft says it does? (Even if it may only be needed in obscure situations.)

    It might help if the Patch Watch chart header included, "Patches listed below as Skip will be removed from the table after six months" after "Patches listed below as safe to install will be removed from the next updated table."

    The chart introduction says, "This table provides the status of problem patches reported in previous Patch Watch columns." Wouldn't that be less confusing if it said, "... reported in this and previous Patch Watch columns."?

    Bruce

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    Arrow "Skip" means skip

    Quote Originally Posted by larrygaia View Post
    I thought basically looking at the table at the end of the column, anything not listed is assumed to have been previously listed as safe to install. In fact, that's what's implied in the head of the table. Could be a mistake, but for example KB2603229 was previously listed as a skip, not listed at all this week. There are one or two more examples. Bottom line, if I look at the latest table and the patch isn't listed, can one assume its safe to install?
    If it was previously a "wait," then the answer is yes, it's OK to go ahead and install it. "Skip" (as I've understood it) means that it's not a necessary patch and not worth the risk (whatever it was that Susan spotted that caused her to say skip it instead of "wait" or "install").

    That said, I'm with you with feeling a bit uncomfortable with the "if it disappears from the wait list it's OK to install" standard--I'd prefer to see every "wait" patch change to "install" status for at least two issues of Patch Watch before disappearing from the list.

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    Question Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2639308)

    This is a 4.9 MB update sitting in my Windows Update queue that I've not seen in any recent Patch Watch.

    Did I miss something, despite my best efforts to screen the list carefully?

    If you know, please tell me what Susan's recommendation was, not just "yes, it was on the list a while back" (yeah, that's not so helpful ).

    Thanks in advance, whoever knows the answer...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bethel95 View Post
    This is a 4.9 MB update sitting in my Windows Update queue that I've not seen in any recent Patch Watch.

    Did I miss something, despite my best efforts to screen the list carefully?

    If you know, please tell me what Susan's recommendation was, not just "yes, it was on the list a while back" (yeah, that's not so helpful ).

    Thanks in advance, whoever knows the answer...
    It was a "non-security" update issued this month on March 13th which Susan apparently chose to ignore.

    I installed it, but then I install all patches immediately and choose to ignore Susan to avoid situations like this.

    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2012-03-21 at 17:54.

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