Deciphering (and understanding) Microsoft’s patch management options

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 08:06:00 -0800

If you asked a normal user what they dislike most about Windows 10, the answer would likely be related to patching, rebooting and the generally confusing update process. Entire web sites have sections devoted to explaining the updating process and how to manage it — and I’ve written my fair share about the topic. 

In addition to writing about Microsoft patches here (and about Windows security for CSO), I’m also a moderator on the Patchmanagement.org listserve. We have many people who rely on various patching tools to deploy updates and maintain workstations.  There are a number of options, so it’s important to understand how they work (and how they vary) so you can get the most out of them.

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Microsoft exhorts enterprises to quit text, voice multi-factor authentication passcodes

Credit to Author: Gregg Keizer| Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2020 06:45:00 -0800

A Microsoft executive is urging enterprises to abandon the most popular multi-factor authentication (MFA) method — one-time passcodes sent to mobile devices via text or voice — for different approaches, including app authenticators, that he claims are more secure.

“It’s time to start your move away from the SMS and voice Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) mechanisms,” asserted Alex Weinert, director of identity security, in a Nov. 10 post to a Microsoft blog. “These mechanisms are based on publicly switched telephone networks (PSTN), and I believe they’re the least secure of the MFA methods available today.”

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Browser updates are back for Update Tuesday; testing may be needed for Windows patches

Credit to Author: Greg Lambert| Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2020 04:43:00 -0800

Though we return to monthly browser updates after last month’s brief respite — none of this November’s browser security issues are worm-able, and we have not seen anything that would require a return to an urgent browser update cycle. The Windows platform gets the most attention this time, but no single issue requires immediate deployment — though some legacy systems may require full testing for graphically intensive applications that rely on older graphic/media conversion technology. And the Microsoft Office and associated development platforms receive some lower-rated patches, with recommendations for a standard roll-out regime. 

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System Management Mode deep dive: How SMM isolation hardens the platform

Credit to Author: Eric Avena| Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 17:00:33 +0000

Key to defending the hypervisor, and by extension the rest of the OS, from low-level threats is protecting System Management Mode (SMM), an execution mode in x86-based processors that runs at a higher effective privilege than the hypervisor.

The post System Management Mode deep dive: How SMM isolation hardens the platform appeared first on Microsoft Security.

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The November Patch Tuesday aftermath

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 04:57:00 -0800

November’s updates held a few surprises. 

First, for those still running Office 2010 last month was supposed to be the drop-dead date for support.  No more security updates at all.  None.  Zilch.  Zippo.  

And yet, we week received updates for Excel (KB4486743), Office (KB4486737, KB4486738, KB4484534, KB4484455), and for Word (KB4486740) — all of which patch for remote code executions.  (I remember when Office 2007 had its swan song, we received updates after its end-of-life notice as well.) My guess is that these updates were probably still in testing and had not yet been completed, hence the late release. So, if you are still running Office 2010, you get one more month’s worth of updates.  I don’t expect another set next month. But then again, I didn’t expect this month’s either.

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For Patch Tuesday, it's time to pause those Windows 10 updates

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Mon, 09 Nov 2020 06:36:00 -0800

First a bit of an introduction.  Recently, Woody Leonhard decided to take a much deserved “retirement” from both AskWoody.com and Computerworld. I put “retirement” in quotes because I find that in IT, you never really retire. You’re often called on to fix anything that has a motherboard or boots up, no matter what operating system is under the hood — especially when visiting family members and even in a pandemic.  Woody is back in Thailand on what he calls an extended vacation.

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On a personal note…

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Mon, 09 Nov 2020 04:18:00 -0800

A combination of medical concerns, family obligations … and a screaming desire to turn my attention to interests outside the computer industry have nudged me into retirement.

And it’s my great pleasure to announce that “Patch Lady” Susan Bradley will be taking up the cause here at Computerworld  with a new blog: Microsoft Patch Lady. She will also be major-domo of AskWoody.com, managing editor of the AskWoody Newsletters, as guiding light of the @AskWoody twitter charge — and, most importantly, as a spiritual advisor to gazillions of disenfranchised Microsoft customers.

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Get Microsoft's October patches installed — and seriously consider Win10 2004

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2020 04:10:00 -0700

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