Announcements and Chatter
Microsoft Death Star
Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. Microsoft Death Star
  Steve
  All
  Dec 24, 2020 @ 05:12am

Hi All,
I found the article in the link below to be quite interesting. Recently, I had been pretty annoyed at the Win10 Updates, 1) because they are difficult/impossible to turn off, and 2) because one of the updates had caused issues with RDP Sessions. However, this article points out how Microsoft took action to mitigate the Solarwinds Hackers. I guess there are cases where forced updates are good.

I can't say I understand it all. Just wondering what others think about it.

https://www.geekwire.com/2020/microsoft-unleashes-death-star-solarwinds-hackers-extraordinary-response-breach/

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Microsoft Death Star
  Rick Strahl
  Steve
  Dec 24, 2020 @ 01:39pm

In general I think Windows updates are a necessary evil in our current malware infested computer environment where vulnerabilities are getting attacked on quicker and quicker timeframes. Given the nature of how malware goes around these days you don't want to run unpatched versions of Windows that are vulnerable to known exploits, since that's still the #1 attack vector for malware attacks.

Also, never mind that you might be careful with your machine, but if you connect to a network of other machines (in your household or business) you're still vulnerable. So having up to date software is pretty important IMHO for that singular reason.

I'm not a fan of updates and changes/fixes and I have gotten bit by changed behavior as well. That's going to happen with a piece of software as large as an Operating System and especially Windows. It sucks, but ultimately we have to work around these issues - as a software dev especially anything you see, your customers will also see so even if you decide to abstain - your customers likely are not.

For some broken stuff examples, a recent update changed the default blocked ports Windows is 'reserving' and can't be used to expose via an application that broken Help Builder's default Web preview port. Another update disabled some IIS installed (Microsoft) addin handlers like the Rewrite module. This is all minor stuff, but it still is very annoying and in the case of Help Builder it's breaking the application for all users until they update (or manually change the port).

FWIW, it's no different on Macs, which these days frequently update and make actual (and even advertised) feature changes which is even more galling. Linux let's you control your own update schedule but even there it's strongly recommended you patch to point releases as often as possible to insure there are know attackable vulnerabilities.

In short - I think the pain is worth the benefit of having an up to date less vulnerable machine.

+++ Rick ---

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Microsoft Death Star
  Jeff L
  Rick Strahl
  Dec 24, 2020 @ 04:46pm

Today, I helped a friend update the firmware on their ASUS router and the wifi and the internet works for everybody, but I cannot login to the router's HTTP web app as Admin. The router is on its own until I can do a factory reset and hopefully install the configuration settings via a CFG file. I just hope the user and password is not Admin and Admin.

Reading the release notes, it doesn't appear to be an important router update to worth risking messing things up. Ugh!

Updates!

My first real interaction with updates was with FoxPro 1.0 for DOS - I think that's what it was called. It was after Foxbase and I think was the first of its kind for us back then. It really was smoking fast.

I remember having to download "updates" using my AOL account or something (actually CompuServe) ancient like that. At one point, word came out of Toledo or wherever that we should switch back to the August release because the December one was bad.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Microsoft Death Star
  Steve
  Rick Strahl
  Dec 25, 2020 @ 08:02am

Hi Rick,
Yes, I agree. I think this is something we have to deal with because this is the world we live in. While it's annoying when things break due to updates, a recent ransomware infection required lots of work to mitigate. I didn't loose any data and simply rebuilt the computer. In any case, it was not fun. However, it did force me to take a very hard look at security. I was very fortunate in that the infected computer had no mapped drives to any other computers on my network. Otherwise, the infection could have been disastrous and spread to other systems. When I realized what was happening, I immediately disconnected the infected computer from the network and powered it down. Again, I was fortunate in that it had no connections to other computers.

As a precaution, I have always kept my "software development" computers off the internet. This way they are safe from viruses and I worry less about the security of my source code, which I now have about 25+ years invested.

To be honest, the updates from Microsoft and the ransomware infection are keeping me on my toes as I work to mitigate the ongoing challenges. In essence, they are an additional impetus for improving my products, services, and daily operating procedures.

As always, thanks for your insight!

Steve

© 1996-2021