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  • Substantial security improvements coming to Microsoft Edge

    Posted on February 24th, 2017 at 08:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m as skeptical as the next guy – moreso, actually – but I’m impressed by the security enhancements planned for the next version of Edge.

    Matt Miller has an overview here.

    Part 2 should be out shortly.

    Long and short of it:

    Most modern browser exploits attempt to transform a memory safety vulnerability into a method of running arbitrary native code on a target device. This technique is prevalent because it provides the path of least resistance for attackers by enabling them to flexibly and uniformly stage each phase of their attack. For defenders, preventing arbitrary native code execution is desirable because it can substantially limit an attacker’s range of freedom without requiring prior knowledge of a vulnerability. To this end, Microsoft Edge in the Creators Update of Windows 10 leverages Code Integrity Guard (CIG) and Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG) to help break the most universal primitive found in modern web browser exploits: loading malicious code into memory.

    I don’t know how quickly the bad guys will be able to break CIG and ACG, but if they hold up as long as ASLR, it’ll be a significant improvement.

  • Flash player patch rolls out in a strange way

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 16:35 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s like a retro patch: Security Bulletin, but it’s not in any cumulative updates.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • More non-news: Microsoft will release another Win10 version later this year

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 13:30 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The MSblogosphere (TM) seems to be bloviating over the discovery of a slide in a Ch9 video from Bill Karagounis’s presentation at Microsoft’s Ignite Australia conference. (Look at 22 to 24 minutes, if you’re really interested.)

    The slide shows that Microsoft plans on shipping another version of Windows 10 in late 2017.

    If that comes as a surprise to you, then you haven’t been following along. Windows 10 has received version bumps every eight months or so, since the first bump appeared four months after the original version of Win10.

    We were originally told that Win10 version changes (“feature updates”) would appear two to three times a year. Two weeks ago, Dani Halfin posted on TechNet in his Overview of Windows as a Service that:

    Windows as a service will deliver smaller feature updates two to three times per year

    The rhythm now is definitely set at 8 months, give or take a bit. That would equate to two versions of Win10 in 2017, and one in 2018.

    Where’s the mystery?

  • Looks like KB 2952664 (for Win7) and KB 2976978 (Win 8.1) are back

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 12:16 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    These are the two patches implicated with various snooping proclivities, and tied into upgrading from Windows 7 to Win10, or Win8.1 to Win10 — which should be a non-starter tat this point.

    I can see them in the Microsoft Update Catalog:

    KB 2952664

    KB 2976978

    They’re both listed as “Last Updated 2/17/2017.”

    They aren’t listed on the Windows Update official page, but PKCano reports that she’s seeing the Win 8.1 patch, released today, optional and unchecked.

    Of course you should avoid them.

  • Flash patches for Internet Explorer and Edge due today

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 07:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Many thanks to those of you who sent me copies of the email Microsoft distributed yesterday.

    This is going to be interesting.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • The latest on disabling Flash

    Posted on February 18th, 2017 at 19:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I received an email from a reader who asked me about all the talk about Flash. He pointed out the fact that there are more than 400 mentions of Flash on this site. What, he wanted to know, is the latest status of Flash – what’s the best way to disable it, and if you must use it, which browser should have it enabled?

    The question takes on greater urgency when you recall that Microsoft hasn’t yet updated Internet Explorer or Edge for the latest bunch of Flash fixes. Adobe posted fixes last Tuesday. Microsoft hasn’t released any fixes this month, so those fixed holes still affect IE and Edge.

    What say ye? What’s the best recommendation for Flash, given the current state of affairs?

  • Another Windows 0day appears – gdi32.dll heap boundary error

    Posted on February 17th, 2017 at 11:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As 0day bugs go, this isn’t an earth-shattering development. But it’s still enough to cause concern.

    Mateusz Jurczyk at Google Project Zero discovered a memory disclosure vulnerability and notified Microsoft on Nov. 17. Project Zero has an automatic 90-day disclosure deadline: If the vendor (in this case Microsoft) doesn’t fix the hole that’s discovered, it will be automatically disclosed 90 days later.

    Sure enough, 90 days passed and, on Feb. 14, the timer rang and the full disclosure popped out, including exploit code.

    This isn’t a huge bug. The bad guy has to get access to your computer before it can be exploited. Once logged on to your machine, the interloper can open a bad EMF file and use it to sneak a peek at system memory that isn’t theirs.

    It seems that security bulletin MS16-074 didn’t fix the problem entirely.

    Yuhong Bao (whom I’ve mentioned before, many times) sent a provocative message to the Project Zero folks. He said:

    I wonder if this was supposed to be part of the cancelled February Patch Tuesday.

    Something to ponder over the upcoming three-day US holiday.

  • Windows 10 upgrade problems – and what to do about them

    Posted on February 17th, 2017 at 09:19 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A dozen top problems, and what you can do besides assuming a fetal position.

    This guide targets two separate but intertwined groups: Those who have recently upgraded from Win7 (or, less likely, Win8.1) and those who have upgraded from an earlier version of Win10 (likely the November Update, Version 1511) to a recent version (as of this writing, probably the Anniversary Update, Version 1607).

    InfoWorld Feature.

    UPDATE: Gunter Born has an interesting revelation about error 0xC0020012 on his Born City web site.