Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows, Office and more… Please disable your ad blocker – our (polite!) ads help keep AskWoody going!
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Patch Lady – Windows 10 update facilitation service

    Posted on June 16th, 2018 at 00:54 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Spotted this on the listing of patches tonight….

    This update includes a background service to facilitate Windows Update service on devices running Home or Pro editions of Windows 10 Versions 1507, 1511, 1607, and 1703.

    This update includes files and resources to address issues affecting background update processes in the Windows Update servicing stack. Maintaining Window Update service health and performance helps ensure that quality updates are installed seamlessly on your device and help to improve the reliability and security of devices running Windows 10.

    How to get this update

    Only certain builds of Windows 10 Versions 1507, 1511, 1607, and 1703 require this update. Devices that are running those builds on Home or Pro editions that are not domain joined will automatically get the update downloaded and installed through Windows Update. Devices not connected to Windows Update may see a User Account Control (UAC) prompt during installation. Click Yes to install.

    So if I’m reading this right, if your system is not domain joined (a home user) and windows update is deemed to not be working properly, you will get this update automatically and it will pop a UAC.  The issue I see is that that screen has never been used before and I’d probably think I had a virus or root kit on my machine.  I hope Microsoft will provide a bit more information and guidance about when we might see this and what the underlying issues are that might trigger this.  A not happy machine is probably not happy in other ways besides Windows update.

  • Patch Lady – Quickbooks and emails

    Posted on June 16th, 2018 at 00:46 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I was posting up the master patch listing tonight and I spotted this KB and I know this impacted people recently:


    After updating Outlook to Monthly Channel Version 1805 (Build 9330.2087), external applications may crash when interacting with or sending email.

    For example, you may get an “Outlook is not responding” error with Intuit QuickBooks. Possible solutions for that specific error can be tried via this Intuit QuickBooks Help article: Crash: Com Error in QuickBooks Desktop


    This issue is fixed in Monthly Channel Version 1805 (Build 9330.2118) and higher. To get the latest update immediately, open Outlook and choose File > Office Account > Update Options > Update Now.

    Microsoft made a service change for Outlook on June 11 2018 (3:45 PST) to mitigate instances of a crash that happens if you’re using a POP or IMAP account. Because of the way the service changes are implemented and also because the issue involves 3rd party interaction with Outlook, you may have to restart Outlook up to three times to ensure that the service change is applied. These restarts ensure that the service change is recognized, then downloaded, then applied successfully to your install of Outlook.

    If anyone is seeing this on NON Click to run, let me know.  But again this points out you need to move to the semi-annual non monthly version of Office 2016 as there are less issues.

  • Win10 version 1803 declared “fully available,” throwing Update for Business under the bus

    Posted on June 15th, 2018 at 06:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft just announced that Win10 1803 is “fully available” thus overriding at least one of your settings for blocking the inevitable upgrade. This, in spite of the fact that 1803 has multiple, known, acknowledged, hard bugs.


    Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Eid Mubarak

    Posted on June 15th, 2018 at 04:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Best wishes to those of you finishing Ramadan today.

  • Patch Lady – 1803 declared Semi-annual

    Posted on June 14th, 2018 at 13:11 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft today declared 1803 as “ready for business” and is flipping from the Semi-annual targeted (the old CB) to Semi-annual (the old CBB). (*)

    What this means:

    If you have your Windows 10 pro settings to defer feature updates for Semi-annual channel and have a deferral setting of “0”, you will soon get 1803.  I have mine set at 364 days of deferral so that I can choose exactly when I deploy 1803.

    Susan’s take:  I think it’s still a bit early to roll out 1803 to businesses.  I’m still seeing nagging issues.  Check with your vendors if they are ready for 1803, and if they aren’t ask they why they haven’t been testing for 1803 already?

    As long at 1803 is getting updates twice a month (it’s had two already in the month of June one of which was fixing a big bug for my industry the multi-user QuickBooks problem) I’m not comfortable with rolling out 1803 widely at this time.

    Things still unfixed:

    1.  SMBv1 issues – patch later in June per known issues in 1803 –

    Some users running Windows 10 version 1803 may receive an error “An invalid argument was supplied” when accessing files or running programs from a shared folder using the SMBv1 protocol.  

    Enable SMBv2 or SMBv3 on both the SMB server and the SMB client, as described in KB2696547.

    Microsoft is working on a resolution that will be available later in June


    As far as I am aware the partition issue is still unfixed.

    3.  Watch out for third party vpn programs  Barb helped a recent forum user that had kerio VPN software – it got to a certain percent and barfed

    Issues that have been fixed

    1.  Alienware no longer blocked  –

    2. Surface SSD’s okay to install since May —

    (*) yup screwed up and had them the other way around, now fixed.  Thanks Zero2Dash

  • White paper: How to use Trend Micro Vulnerability Protection to patch virtually

    Posted on June 14th, 2018 at 09:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    An interesting PDF (link below) from Daniel Portenlanger:

    Microsoft’s new patching policies have introduced new challenges to keeping Windows endpoints safe. Patches are now a cumulative package instead of small individual fixes. Should a cumulative group of patches break functionality, removing the cumulative removes the entire group of patches reintroducing vulnerabilities. Additionally, products like WSUS only support Microsoft products and not third party software. Lastly, systems may not be able to be taken offline immediately to apply patches. This is where virtual patching fills the gap.

    The version of Vulnerability Protection in this document is self-hosted and integrated with the endpoint security product Officescan. The product demonstrated here was implemented because the customer had a license. There was no evaluation of competing products. This primer simply describes how Trend Micro Vulnerability Protection virtual patching works and why virtual patching is useful in between patch cycles. In this example, Adobe, Microsoft and others recently released a patch for a critical Flash Player flaw.



  • Patch Lady – light reading for the evening

    Posted on June 13th, 2018 at 21:49 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For those of you that like to dig a bit deeper into the details of patching, I highly recommend the Zero Day blog.  For those who remember the detailed Microsoft MSRC blogs from years ago, the author is one that USED to write those detailed Microsoft blogs:  Dustin Childs.  Now he works for the Zero day Initiative and writes these fantastic blogs that go a long way to help me understand the risks of *not* patching.

    The other day I said that when the point in time occurs that I’m more scared of *not* patching than I am of patching, that’s the point in time I need to patch.

    So right now, we are day four of the updating process.  I’ve installed updates on a few of my home pcs, I will be rolling an update on a sample (in my office that means ONE) production machine to see if I spot any issues.  I’m watching the forums for side effects.  I’m waiting for Microsoft to fix any metadata detection issues (they already expired KB4284880 as there was a duplicate up there), and I’m basically not approving anything at this time until my testing process is done.  

    But what I am doing is reading and understanding what this month’s updates include.   Here’s my light reading I’m doing tonight:

    The blog post spells out the security issues per CVE or Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, not per patch.  So while it doesn’t showcase the updates as you can I see them on your computer, (as we see them in one glob per operating system) it does give a way better deep dirty explanation of the overall risks related to not updating so you and I can get a feel for how long we should wait before we update.

    It also helps me to determine what I currently have in place for mitigations or protections that will also give me time to not patch.

    Flash zero day – “primarily targeting the Middle East region and is wrapped in an Office document”.  Okay so I’m not located in the Middle East and I not only warn users about opening attachments, we have email attachment filtering.

    DNS server bug –   “The more likely scenario is simply tricking a target DNS server into querying an evil server that sends the corrupted response”.  In small firms or home users, the way I see this probably used is getting your system to reach out to a malicious DNS server bypassing your DNS entries (or your ISPs).  For servers in large firms that handle handling out DNS inside of a firm, because you can’t always control what your servers connect to, this is one you’ll probably want to patch sooner versus later.

    Http.sys bug – bug in a web service, “A remote attacker could cause code execution by sending a malformed packet to a target server”.  If I’ve got a web server out there, I’ll be testing this and rolling it out sooner versus later.  But we don’t (well, we shouldn’t) run web servers on workstations so this will be lower risk there.

    Cortana bug – “someone close enough to speak to a Cortana-enabled system could execute programs with elevated privileges”  Doesn’t impact Windows 7, and like the Alexa bugs, you have to be local to the machine to do your evil deeds.  Bottom line anything these days that you yell “Hey….” to is being targeted these days because it’s sexy to go after the voice recognition stuff.

    The other thing of interest to me that ran across my radar was YASMB (yet another Spectre Meltdown bug).  This time the v4 bug is NOT enabled by default.  Based on my read it’s due to two things:

    Thing one, it’s another Spectre Meltdown with a performance hit.  As per this blog post “If enabled, we’ve observed a performance impact of approximately 2 to 8 percent based on overall scores for benchmarks.”.  Thing two there are no active attacks and it reads to me that it’s going to be hard to exploit.  Not to say it’s impossible to exploit, but there are lots of other low hanging fruit that they can use to get me.

    There’s a nice recap on the bottom of the portal page that describes which patches are and are not enabled by default in the Spectre/Meltdown patches:

      • After installing Windows updates, refer to the following table for further action to be protected from Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities:
    Operating System CVE-2017-5715 CV-2017-5754 CVE-2018-3639
    Windows 10 Enabled by default Enabled by default Disabled by default – see ADV180012
    Windows Server 2016 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see ADV180012
    Windows 8.1 Enabled by default Enabled by default Not available – see ADV180012
    Windows Server 2012 R2 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Not available – see ADV180012
    Windows RT 8.1 Enabled by default Enabled by default Not available – see ADV180012
    Windows 7 Enabled by default Enabled by default Disabled by default – see ADV180012
    Windows Server 2008 R2 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see ADV180012
    Windows Server 2008 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Disabled by default – see KB4072698 Not available – see ADV180012

    I’m still not convinced that on desktops this is as big of an issue we are making it, I still think this is a bigger risk on cloud servers or hosted servers where you may not monitor the access as much as you do on a desktop in front of you.

    Just hot off the presses tonight we have another Intel vulnerability that will make our heads hurt trying to figure out the patches on.  Called Lazy FP State restore vulnerability

    Intel Releases Security Advisory on Lazy FP State Restore Vulnerability
    06/13/2018 06:47 PM EDT

    Original release date: June 13, 2018

    Intel has released recommendations to address a vulnerability—dubbed Lazy FP state restore—affecting Intel Core-based microprocessors. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to obtain access to sensitive information.

    NCCIC encourages users and administrators to review Intel’s Security Advisory INTEL-SA-00145, apply the necessary mitigations, and refer to software vendors for appropriate patches, when available.

    At this time Microsoft is still determining updates to be released.  If you have VM’s in Azure they are not affected by this vulnerability.

    All of this just showcases that you can’t just update your operating system these days, you HAVE to update your bios and hardware drivers.

    Here’s another example of hardware patches — Surface 3 has a standalone TPM update tool in order to fix that vulnerability. It can’t come down via Windows update, it has to be done manually.

    Lots of fun.

  • June 2018 Patch Tuesday is upon us

    Posted on June 12th, 2018 at 13:05 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The June Security Updates have been released for all versions of Windows, Office and various other Microsoft products.

    As usual, Martin Brinkman has his amazing overview available on the ghacks site. The updates according to operating system:

    • Windows 7: 9 vulnerabilities of which 2 are rated critical and 7 important.
    • Windows 8.1: 8 vulnerabilities of which 2 are rated critical and 6 important.
    • Windows 10 version 1607: 25 vulnerabilities of which 4 are rated critical and 21 important.
    • Windows 10 version 1703: 25 vulnerabilities of which 3 are rated critical and 22 important.
    • Windows 10 version 1709: 27 vulnerabilities of which 4 are rated critical and 23 important.
    • Windows 10 version 1803: 26 vulnerabilities of which 4 are rated critical and 22 important.

    Windows Server products

    • Windows Server 2008 R2: 9 vulnerabilities which 2 are rated critical and 7 important.
    • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2: 8 vulnerabilities which 2 are rated critical and 6 important.
    • Windows Server 2016: 24 vulnerabilities of which 4 are rated critical and 22 important.

    Other Microsoft Products

    • Internet Explorer 11: 4 vulnerabilities, 2 critical, 2 important
    • Microsoft Edge: 7 vulnerabilities, 3 critical, 4 important

    Martin also has a list of known issues for Windows 7 SP1, Windows 10 v.1607, Windows 10 v.1709, and Windows 10 v.1803 on his site.

    UPDATE: Security Updates are available for Microsoft Office 2010, 2013, and 2016. Also for the Excel Viewer 2007 and the Office Compatibility Pack SP3. These updates do not include Office 365 or C2R.

    Patch reliability is unknown at this time. Unless you have a specific reason to install updates, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) has had time to evaluate them and/or Woody gives the DEFCON go-ahead.