URGENT: Critical flaw found in Windows

  PC Advisor. 12:50 11 Feb 2004

Hi folks,

Sorry for interrupting the Helproom but we urgently requre feedback on the following:

***Microsoft is warning users of of Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 and NT to patch their PCs in a bid to fix a massive security hole in the company's OS. The company says the security problem is "critical", and could potentially allow unknown users to run hostile code on PCs from a remote location.***

For more click here

We're doing a piece for PC Advisor and would very much appreciate your feedback on the following:

1) When did you hear about the hole?
2) How serious are you taking it?
3) Who do you blame for the problem?
4) Have you downloaded the fix it patch?
5) Are you going to download the fix it patch? If not, why not?
6) Anything else you'd like to add.



Guy (Online Ed)

  Jester2K 13:06 11 Feb 2004

1) News this morning - BBC i think (it was 6 am)

2) Not very. Never do. Odds of a home user being hit or damaged by these flaws is a bit rare, obviously with the exception of MSBlaster. But then again the patch for that had been out for a month or two when someone exploited the flaw.

3) Part MS, part hackers. MS should have tighter control over their code and what it can do. Exploits and flaws seem to be found regularly, (mostly before they are used maliciously though) and i feel this is the result of sloppy production or a desire to increase functionality in Windows at the expense of security.

Imagine if you bought a car and then found that by tapping a certain body panel in a certain way you can trip the central locking and thieves could get in? Would you buy one? Would you take it back it you had?

Then again if it wasn't for the hackers then there would be no reason to worry. The flaw could exist without any worries of it being used...

4) First thing i did after checking for AV updates.

5) Done.

6) Most of these flaws seem to really be of concern to small business / home users. I'm sure that a major business would have sufficient additional security (not the XP built in Firewall :-O) to deter most hackers. Home user PCs are not very interesting unless you have a specific reason to be there. I don't think MS quite realise how let down some people feel when this happens or how it affects the real world. When the flaw in Windows was found that allowed the MSBlaster virus to strike MS suffered some bad publicity but we are so used to it now it doesn't seem to register any more. Its all very well MS releasing patches for this, that and the other every week or so but most users i encounter don't really understand what the patch is or what its for or even why they need it. They just want to switch on, surf, write a letter and switch off without having to understand the concept of exploits, hacking and patching.

Maybe the next version of Windows will automatically patch for you behind the scenes?

  scotty 13:10 11 Feb 2004

Read it in The Register today. Apparently Microsoft have known about this flaw for 6 months!

  smegs 13:15 11 Feb 2004

Thanks FE.

1. BBC News 1300hrs.
2. Not very. Keep an eye out for it.
3. Agree with Jester2K.
4. Done.
5. Done.
6. It's about time Ms got it right. After all these years at the top, you'd think they'd have this sort of think sorted out. That's my only opinion.

  georgemac 13:24 11 Feb 2004

1)GMTV news this morning

2)Seriously enough to go and download the patch right away

3)It's just one of those things - something as complex as an operating system will always have some problems


5)Done, but I just checked windows update and one of the updates I installed this morning is still showing as available - script for media player - so must not have installed correctly

6)Would I still have been safe behind my firewall? I think if MS had known about it for 6 months it would have been fixed by now without all the bad publicity - or is any publicity bad publicity?

  Indigo 1 13:28 11 Feb 2004

I am not really concerened about MS security flaws (or scares) as I never download their updates ! I rely on a third party application called BigFix to inform me of important security updates and download only what is necessary when it is necessary.

This is mainly due to MS releasing some very dodgy updates in the past which have caused me no end of problems and for a novice PC user that can be a nightmare !

It appears to me that some of these scares are completely unnecessary and if they didn't broadcast the security flaws publicly then the "hacker" would have a hard time finding them.

  hugh-265156 13:30 11 Feb 2004

1.gmtv news 6am

2.as j2k above,not at all worried.they will find something else next week to patch no doubt.

3.dont really blame anybody.windows is quite a complex bit of software i guess.im sure its difficult to make any code really 100% secure.at least they realeased a patch to fix it.


5.see 4

6.not really.

  Al94 13:39 11 Feb 2004

Read about it last night at around 9.00pm on BBC news site, posted link to this on Consumerwatch Forum at 9.19pm.

Have downloaded patch from Windows update on all home PC's. Not particularly concerned as I hope firewall is doing it's job!

Surprised that it hadn't come up as an automatic update if it's so serious

  thisisnighthawk 13:46 11 Feb 2004

Heard it on the news at 08.00 and downloaded it at 08:15 onto a win98se PC

  rawprawn 13:51 11 Feb 2004

Heard about it at about 6am this morning on the radio, I'm not really worried but I keep up to date with patches as I think it is better to be safe than sorry.I downloaded it this morning.
I don't really blame Microsoft, although I think that they could have acted more promptly. I blame the hackers who simply try to cause problems, if they wanted to test the system & find a flaw, why don't they simply inform Microsoft

  [email protected]@m 14:01 11 Feb 2004

1. This thread.

2. Not worried.

3. I blame the grandparents.

4. Done.

5. Done.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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