HelpWithWindows Newsletter
 07 January 2006, Vol 9 No. 1

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Microsoft Issues Windows Patch for "Zero-Day Exploit"

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

On the 28th of December 2005, security firm Secunia issued a security advisory that labeled a Windows Metafile (".wmf") error as "extremely critical". The problem was that at that time, exploit code was already being used to target systems, so this constituted a so called "Zero-Day" exploit.

Usually there are several days between the discovery of vulnerability and the availability of exploit code (code that "uses" the vulnerability). Over the past years the time between discovery & exploit code being available has been going down steadily.

Microsoft had first announced its intentions to offer a patch on their "normal" patch day, which is the 2nd Tuesday of the month (in this case January 10), but after end-user pressure, Microsoft released the patch for this vulnerability on January 5th.

If you do not have your system set to get automatic updates, get this patch ASAP. Either go to WindowsUpdate or get it from the Microsoft TechNet Web site.

A final twist to this vulnerability is that Microsoft labels it "Not Critical" for Windows 98, 98SE and ME. These operating systems are currently on "extended" support, meaning that Microsoft will only release security updates for "critical" issues. According to Microsoft the fact that no "exploitable attack vector" has been identified on these operating systems means that the vulnerability is not critical.

Several security researchers disagree and think that it will only be a matter of time before someone figures out how to exploit these older Windows versions too.

Recent Support BBS Postings

Recommended Web sites

Each month we will feature a few Web sites here, ones which sent us the most visitors to our Web site in the previous month. We would encourage you to visit these popular Web sites yourself!

Here are some sites in the Top 15 for December 2005:

The Top 15 sites are listed on our Web site.


Windows Vista December 2005 CTP Review

On Monday 19 December Microsoft released Build 5270 as the December 2005 CTP build. I proceeded to install this build on both a laptop & desktop computer, here are my first impressions.

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Supported OS: Windows XP

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Latest Microsoft & Windows News from around the Internet

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