XP SP3 omits critical security update

While it doesn't install vulnerable version of Flash, it doesn't update Flash either

Microsoft's own marketing and technical documentation claims that its service packs are all-inclusive. A white paper issued early last month, "Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview" (download PDF), states on its title page that: "Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system, and a small number of new updates to ensure that Windows XP customers have the latest updates for their system."

"You'll still need to update Flash after XP SP3," noted Storms. "It still requires manual intervention."

Consumer computer users will be the most likely affected by the missing update, Storms said, since enterprises do -- or at least should -- test a service pack before deploying it to, for example, determine what currently-supported component or application might be overwritten by the update. "The real significance of this is on the consumer side," said Storms. "In all likelihood, they probably wouldn't notice anything amiss until the next Patch Tuesday, when they read that they have to update Windows and go to Windows Update."

According to Microsoft, Windows Update should display MS06-069 as an available update the first time the service is called after a XP SP3 update. If the user has enabled Windows Update automatic updating, MS06-069 should be downloaded and installed.

Even then, however, users will need to further update Flash Player by visiting the Adobe Web site. On Tuesday, Microsoft again declined to explain why it had not included an update to Flash Player 9.0.124.0 -- the most current edition -- with XP SP3.

Storms speculated that Microsoft might issue a patch for the third-party software soon. "It wouldn't surprise me," he said. "Adobe took a lot of flack last week about the SQL-injection attacks."

Storms was referring to last week's disclosure that hackers have been using SQL-injection attacks to compromise legitimate Web sites, then instructing those sites to redirect visitors to malware hosting servers that try multiple exploits -- including one that triggers a bug in Flash Player 9.0.115.0 -- to hijack PCs.

"Adobe may have gone to Microsoft and asked for help to update customers," said Storms. "In conversations with our clients, it's clear that users don't update Flash unless they have to."

Microsoft's next security update is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 10.

Users running XP SP3 can determine which version of Flash Player is installed by calling up this Adobe page in their browser. Adobe has recommended that all users update to Version 9.0.124.0.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?