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Microsoft patching a 17-year-old security flaw

The next update for Windows to be released this month will close a hole that first appears in Windows NT 3.1.  This effects nearly all versions of Windows since, including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 as well as Windows Vista and Windows 7. 

The monthly update that will be releases later this month will tackle a total of 25 holes, 5 of which have been labelled as “critical”.

The bug was discovered within the last month by a Google security expert.  He found the vulnerability comes from Windows compatibility.  This is a piece of software that allows older programs that were designed to run on previous versions of Windows, to run on newer versions of Windows.

The critical updates that are addressed in the February update are loopholes that all effectively allow a cybercriminal to hijack a victim's PC and run whatever programs they want.  This is commonly known as making the PC a “bot”.  To the user, the only difference they may notice is that their PC runs a little slower.  A cybercriminal will have many of these bots, and when they do, this is called a “botnet”.  They will then use these botnets to create other forms of cybercrime, such as, spamming.

As well as fixing security flaws in Windows, the update also fixes bugs in Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2004 for Apple Macintosh operating systems.

What can I do?

Always make sure your anti-virus program and firewall is up-to-date.  This will block any suspicious network traffic.  When operating system updates are available, download and install them as soon as possible.  With Windows, you can configure it to update automatically.

Beware of any emails from people you don't know, especially avoid downloading any attachments or clicking any links in emails.

Also, make sure you update your web browser as often as possible.  Microsoft recently released an update for Internet Explorer that fixed a serious vulnerability.

Prolateral can help you

If you think you have been infected by a virus, spyware, malware, or scareware and need help then give us a call. Prolateral Consulting is an IT Security company specialising in the protection of your computer systems. Prolateral is solution partners with Symantec and eSet to help provide you the best of breed solution that is tailored to fit your business requirement.  Together with proFilter, Prolateral's first rate anti-spam and anti-phishing email filter we have the complete solution.

About Prolateral

Prolateral Consulting is in business to put your organisation back in control of your own Information Technology, specialising in information and messaging security, computer forensic services, and disaster recovery planing.

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