Microsoft reissues Windows 2000 patch

Microsoft Corp. has reissued a Windows security patch that it published last week because the software did not work properly on Windows 2000 systems.

The Oct. 10 patch did not correctly configure a Windows Registry setting called a “kill bit,” to prevent Windows 2000 from running software that could be attacked, Microsoft said Thursday. Other versions of the operating system, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, are not affected by this problem, Microsoft said.

The patch, described in the MS06-061 security bulletin fixed problems in the Windows XML (Extensible Markup Language) parser. A bulletin describing the patch can be found at this Web site.

“The revised version we released today protects against all the vulnerabilities discussed in MS06-061 and correctly sets the kill bit,” wrote Microsoft Security Program Manager Ben Richeson in a Thursday blog posting. That blog item can be found at this Web site.

Microsoft, which is in the process of reorganizing its security divisions, has had a few high-profile security gaffes over the past few months. In August, it was forced to reissue a critical security patch after researchers discovered that the software introduced a critical security bug.

And some Windows users had to wait for hours last Tuesday as Microsoft sorted out networking problems that kept the security patches from being properly copied between Microsoft’s internal staging systems and those used by its customers.

This latest error is an embarrassing one for Microsoft, said Russ Cooper, a senior information security analyst at Cybertrust Inc.”They might as well have issued M&M’s for Windows 2000 customers,” he said via instant message. “How basic a task is it to ensure the patch does what they wrote in the bulletin? How poorly are their Q&A [quality assurance] processes if such a problem can slip through?”

IDefense’s Ken Dunham, however, was reluctant to criticize Microsoft for the error. A lot of factors can cause a patch to go wrong, said Dunham, a director of malicious code with the VeriSign Inc. “Vulnerability patching and patch management is a very complicated process. Anybody who thinks it’s a very simple process for large enterprises doesn’t understand it.”

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