Microsoft plans monster Patch Tuesday next week

Unlucky 13 sets record as biggest-ever patch day, includes first-ever for Windows 7 RTM

Microsoft today said it will deliver its largest-ever number of security updates on Tuesday to fix flaws in every version of Windows, as well as Internet Explorer (IE), Office, SQL Server, important developer tools and the enterprise-grade Forefront Security client software.

Among the updates will be the first for the final, or release to manufacturing, code of Windows 7, Microsoft's newest operating system.

The company will ship a total of 13 updates next week, eight of them pegged "critical," the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system, beating the previous record of 12 updates shipped in February 2007 and again in October 2008.

"Thirteen is not a lucky number," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, reacting to the massive slate scheduled for Oct. 13. "They've been a busy bunch at Microsoft, that's for sure."

Storms was unable to parse today's advance notification - Microsoft's way of forewarning customers with the barest of details, including the number of updates, their ranking and the software they impact - to determine whether the company will patch the still-unfixed vulnerability in SBM 2. "There's just too much data here to use the deduction method," said Storms. "But with all that's here, you have to imagine that it's going to be patched."

The bug in SMB (Server Message Block) 2, a Microsoft-made network file- and print-sharing protocol that ships with Windows, was first revealed by Microsoft Sept. 7 . Since then, attack code has gone public, although security researchers have not seen any in-the-wild attacks . The flaw affects Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and preview releases of Windows 7.

Of the 13 updates, Storms put the patches scheduled for SQL Server, Visual Studio and IE at the top of his list.

"The SQL Server update will affect a lot of people, especially those who use it as the back-end for their Web sites. And the Visual Studio update makes me wonder if it's another fix for ATL," Storms said, referring to the Active Template Library (ATL) bug that Microsoft itself introduced in its popular development platform.

Microsoft patched a number of bugs in the ATL code "library," which the company and others rely on to create their programs, in August.

"There's also the token IE update," added Storms. "Even IE8 is critical this month."

Windows 7 will receive its first official patches next week: Five of the 13 bulletins were marked today by Microsoft as affecting the new operating system. "At this point, Windows 7 is essentially released," said Storms.

Although Windows 7 won't reach retail or be available on new PCs until later this month, some customers - primarily enterprises with volume licensing agreements - have been able to obtain the OS for the last two months.

Both consumers and company administrators should gear up for a busy Tuesday, Storms warned. The latter will especially have a tough time with the monster update, since businesses typically try to test updates before they roll them out to their servers or client systems. "The problem for enterprises will be staying diligent with their patch management policies," said Storms. "But with this many updates, there should be places to cut corners to get the most critical updates out according to their own schedules."

Testing 13 updates may also give system administrators fits, he warned. "There are so many potential interactions with this many," Storms concluded. "It's going to be a full month of testing for some."

Microsoft will release the 13 updates at approximately 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 13.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security patchMicrosoftmicrosoft patches

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?