Another chink in the internet’s armor was uncovered this week, prompting Microsoft to release a critical patch to protect as many as one billion Windows users from hackers, who potentially have the capability to take complete control of a user’s computer.
While it’s not out of the ordinary for software companies to release patches to combat exploits used by viruses or other malware, this most recent security incident was classified as a “critical vulnerability,” Microsoft’s highest rated threat. Without the fix, “an attacker could then install programs, view, change, or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights,” according to the company.
Basically, the breach happens if a user – running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, or Windows RT – opens an infected document or goes to a website with vulnerable OpenType fonts – which are a font file type created by Adobe and Microsoft.
The good news in all of this is that computer users that use a Managed Service Provider, such as The Network Support Company, will probably never even be aware of the issue and they’ll be immediately protected from it. If they have something similar to TNSC’s AssistIT or SimplifyIT agreement, the patch has probably already been installed on their machines. That’s because, under these agreements, MSPs manage the Microsoft patching of clients’ servers and workstations.
Users that don’t use a Managed Service Provider can get this update by either manually downloading the patch by visiting the ‘affected software’ section of Microsoft’s security page or by turning on Microsoft Automatic Updates on the machine.
This security flaw is just another in a seemingly unending string of cyber-shenanigans that have become part of our lives, but that set us on edge because so much of our lives are wrapped up in, and dependent on, technology.
The fear is unsettling and understandable, but this seems a good time to point out that – even in a world where the threats are real – being under the care of a qualified service provider is the safest place to be.