You probably know that last week, Microsoft released 10 security bulletins that include a barrage of new security patches, many of which the company considers to be of a critical nature. The patches pertain to a wide variety of system components including RPC, Network Dynamic Data Exchange (NetDDE), Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV), the Windows shell, Excel, and much more.
When new security vulnerabilities are brought to light, somebody soon releases an exploit to take advantage of unprotected systems. So if you haven't checked into the new bulletins, consider doing so soon if you expect to keep your systems protected.
Some of you might still be working to determine which of your systems are affected by the JPEG GDI+ vulnerability that was announced in last month's security bulletins from Microsoft. The company recently released new articles and a new scanning tool to help you identify and replace vulnerable DLLs.
If you use the original JPEG GDI+ scanning tool from Microsoft, you've probably figured out that the tool has some significant shortcomings. It might have left you wondering whether you'd really replaced all the vulnerable DLLs on your system. The new tool is an improvement over the original tool, and it can work in conjunction with Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS). You can link to more information about the new tool in the "New JPEG GDI+ Scanning Tool" blog entry below.
If you're still working to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you might come across instances in which certain applications cease to function the way they did before you installed the new service pack. Some applications stop working correctly because of the new Windows Firewall. The Microsoft article "Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=842242 ) offers a list of some of the more popular applications that might be affected. The article describes which ports need to be open for a listed application and why they need to be open. The article also provides advice about how to determine which ports need to be open for applications that aren't listed.
And since I mentioned XP SP2, did you know that the service pack adds a new option to the system shutdown dialog box? The new option lets any newly downloaded updates be installed before the system is shut down and the computer is powered off. This way, the updates can be installed when you're finished using the system instead of when you're trying to get some work done in the middle of the day. You can adjust registry settings to control whether the new option is displayed to users and whether the option is the default setting. You can read about this feature and other changes introduced by XP SP2 in "Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2" ( http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/maintain/sp2chngs.mspx ).