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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 08:23

New Microsoft security updates system fails to take off Featured

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Microsoft's switch to a new system of releasing security updates has failed to take off as scheduled on 14 February.

This means there will be no patches this month as the company had planned to issue cumulative updates for all versions of Windows that it still supports.

Earlier this month, there was news of a fresh zero-day exploit for Windows, targeting the implementation of the SMB3 protocol. This will remain unpatched until Microsoft releases its next round of patches.

The company gave no detailed reason for the delay in launching the new system, except to say: "This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

"After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan."

Microsoft announced in August last year that it would be replacing its system of issuing detailed security bulletins along with separate patches on the second Tuesday of each month.

This system, begun in 2003, came to be known as Patch Tuesday and was meant to give systems administrators certainty about when to expect patches.

Instead, the company said it would provide a searchable database of support documents named the "security updates guide".

The company also said there would be cumulative updates for both Windows 7 and 8.1, from this month onwards. Windows 10 has had cumulative updates from the time it was released.

Prior to instituting the Patch Tuesday system, Microsoft used to issue patches as and when needed.

The Internet Security Centre's Johannes Ulrich wrote: "Microsoft delayed the release of all bulletins scheduled for today. Today was supposed to be the first month of Microsoft using its new update process, which meant that we would no longer see a bulletin summary, and patches would be released as monolithic updates vs. individually. It is possible that this change in process caused the delay.

"At this point, we do not know when Microsoft will release its February patches. There is still the unpatched SMB 3 DoS vulnerability that I hoped would be addressed in this round."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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