Archive for July, 2008

 

Microsoft Security Update KB951748 and You – 12. July, 2008

This post is about a security update passed out by Microsoft this week to fix a general vulnerability in the Internet’s DNS system:

Patch (the Entire Internet) Tuesday

The laptop my daughter uses at home had the update installed automatically via Windows Update, and after completion found that she could no longer access the Internet. After troubleshooting the problem, I determined that my ZoneAlarm firewall was not allowing access at its (recommended) High security level. I decided to turn down the firewall temporarily, ask my daughter to refrain from going online (no real issue – she has other machines available that can get there), and wait a couple of days for a solution to appear. I found that there is a fix provided by ZoneAlarm, which I installed on my protected PCs this afternoon.

I have several observations about this issue:

  • As “PA Bear” states on the Windows Update forum, the update is a big deal, especially since it might not be smart to reply on ISPs to fix the issue universally.
  • You would think that Microsoft would coordinate the fix with all of the major security vendors so that machines aren’t left unprotected, and users aren’t confused – I was certainly confused Tuesday…I thought we had left this “he said she said” stuff back in the 90s…
  • This vulnerability has been exposed (but not publicized, thankfully) for over six months, so there’s really no excuse for this sort of thing happening.
  • According to the ZoneAlarm page about the issue, “Windows Vista is not affected.” Could this be a subtle jab at those of us staying on XP by Microsoft? (Tinfoil hat taken off now 😀 )
  • So, in review, I spent an hour Tuesday diagnosing the problem, and another hour this afternoon downloading the new version of ZoneAlarm and installing it on my protected PCs (including 45 minutes on one laptop that is insanely slow – how did I do business on that machine not two years ago?). I also cast the evil eye on my daughter about the original problem by mistake (sorry, honey), which should be worth some pain and suffering compensation. So, I figure that Microsoft owes me about $500 for my time and trouble – I’ll wait patiently by the mailbox for the check…

    Oh, yeah, I’ve been down this road before

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