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Windows 10 Out-of-Band Update Released to Fix PDF Issue

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Windows 10 Out-of-Band Update Released to Fix PDF Issue

Microsoft has released KB5004760, marked as an optional non-security Windows 10 update that includes quality improvements out of band to fix issues opening PDF documents.

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Emergency Windows 10 Update Fixes PDF-Breaking Bugs

Microsoft has released KB5004760, marked as an optional non-security Windows 10 update that includes quality improvements out of band to fix issues opening PDF documents.

This bug may prevent you from opening PDFs using Internet Explorer 11 or apps that use the 64-bit version of the WebBrowser control. Additionally, a PDF might render as just a gray background when using the Adobe Acrobat plug-in.

At present this update is not available via Windows Update or Windows Update for Business.

Affected Platforms

  • Windows 10 servicing stack update – 19041.1081, 19042.1081, and 19043.1081
  • Windows 10, version 21H1
  • Windows 10, version 20H2
  • Windows 10, version 2004

How Syxsense Can Help

As always, we recommend full testing be performed prior to live deployment to your device. These are now available within your Syxsense Console.

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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 SSU To Fix Security Update Problem

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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 SSU To Fix Security Update Problem

Microsoft has released a Secure Boot update and is recommending this SSU be prioritized to resolve an important security issue.

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SSU Fixes Security Update Issue

Microsoft has released a Secure Boot security update and is recommending this SSU be prioritized as it resolves an issue in the Secure Boot.

CVE-2020-0689 is a vulnerability that could allow attackers to bypass Secure Boot and install untrusted software. The new SSU fixes the issue by making sure prerequisite updates are installed in the proper order for the CVE-2020-0689 security update to install without errors.

Customers using Syxsense Manage and Syxsense Secure can find KB5001205 available now for immediate deployment.

What are Servicing Stack Updates?

Servicing stack updates provide fixes to the Windows servicing stack, the fundamental component that installs Windows updates.

It also contains the “component-based servicing stack” (CBS), which is a key underlying component for several elements of Windows deployment, such as DISM, SFC, changing Windows features or roles, and repairing components.

Servicing stack updates improve the reliability of the update process to mitigate potential issues while installing the latest quality updates and feature updates. If you don’t install the latest servicing stack update, there’s a risk that your device can’t be updated with the latest Microsoft security fixes.

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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Updates for Windows 10

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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Updates for Windows 10

Microsoft has released out-of-band updates which should be deployed to resolve last week's Blue-Screen-of-Death (BSOD) issues.

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Microsoft Issues Updates to Fix Widespread Blue Screen of Death

Last week, Microsoft released their March Patch Tuesday updates to fix 89 security bugs.

Within those updates were several fixes for printers which have caused widespread Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). These have since been recalled.

Those problematic patches include:

  1. KB5000802 Windows 10, version 2004 and 20H2
  2. KB5000808 Windows 10, version 1909
  3. KB5000822 Windows 10, version 1809

KB5000808 Still Offered by Windows Update

Microsoft admitted to the issues and have since released a solution for the problematic update KB500080, replacing it with KB5001566.  Although Microsoft removed this bad patch from SCCM and WSUS, users are still able to download it as part of Windows Update.

To make matters worse, the original problematic update is seen as a ‘Critical’ severity update. It is offered as an automatic install, but the patch released to solve this major printing issue has been released to Windows Update as an ‘Optional’ update. Depending on your settings, this may not update at all.

Out-of-Band Updates

Microsoft released the following out-of-band updates:

  1. KB5001567 Windows 10 Version 2004 and 20H2
  2. KB5001566 Windows 10 Version 1909
  3. KB5001568 Windows 10 Version 1809 (Enterprise/Education/LTSC)
  4. KB5001565 Windows 10 Version 1803 (Enterprise/Education)

How Syxsense Can Help

Syxsense remains committed to assisting customers who have been effected by this BSOD disruption. We have left the uninstaller within the Syxsense Secure console so these updates can be uninstalled.

However until Microsoft addresses the issues above, the content will not be available for public deployment.

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Windows 10 2004: What IT Departments Should Expect

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Windows 10 2004: What IT Departments Should Expect

Microsoft has released Windows 10, version 2004. Find out the new features for security and performance that IT professionals should pay attention to.

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Microsoft recently released Windows 10’s May 2020 Update. Codenamed 20H1, the spring release is referred to as “version 2004,” and includes a number of new features for security and performance.

Contrary to the 1909 (Fall 2019) Update that was more of a service pack or cumulative update with little changes, this update includes many changes across various areas of the operating system. For organizations planning to deploy the latest release, it’s strongly recommended to peruse the list of new features (as well as features deprecated) and, as always, test it first.

New Features in Windows 10 2004

New Cortana Experience

The new app has taken a significant shift, so if you’re used to using the digital assistant, be prepared.

The new version is mainly focused on increasing productivity—it has removed features for music, smart home, and third-party options. Additionally, Microsoft has removed Cortana on Android and iOS as well as unsupported Windows 10 versions. There are still improvements including interface enhancements and better integration with email, calendars, and other Windows apps.

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Cortana has changed significantly in Windows 10, version 2004.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

The Linux subsystem, which has been in Windows 10 for some time, has been majorly changed. It now runs entirely in a lightweight virtual machine managed by Windows. The full Linux kernel now enables full system call compatibility, offers great performance improvements, and can be easily updated through Windows Update. You can learn much more about the new WSL 2 by clicking here.

Windows Sandbox Improvements

The Windows Sandbox was introduced last year with the spring release of Windows 10 1903 and allows users to launch virtual devices for safe testing with a minimal version of Windows 10. Microsoft recently rolled-out new features to further automation including support for configuration files, audio input enhancements, and better use of administrative hotkeys.

Cloud Recovery Option

In previous versions of Windows 10, there’s a recovery option to ‘Reset this PC’ to perform a local reinstall, in the event that corruption occurs. Introduced in Windows 10 2004, this option now allows for not just local recovery, but also with ‘Cloud download’ where the files can instead be delivered from Microsoft’s servers directly (as long as the device has an adequate internet connection). Mac users have enjoyed this for quite some time and now Microsoft has finally stepped-up.

Security Options

Windows Hello has been used for some time to allow users to log in with biometrics or passwordless methods, like fingerprint, face scan, or PIN code. With Windows 2004, these options are now supported even if the device is booted-up in Safe Mode. This is most likely added because now Windows Hello passwordless authentication can used entirely without passwords (while logging-in with a Microsoft account). Another security improvement with 2004, Microsoft has expanded its FIDO2 security key support to “include hybrid Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)-joined devices, enabling even more customers to take an important step in their journey towards passwordless environments.”

Anyone running certain models of AMD processers will also be happy to know that 2004 includes its new Secured-core technology. Lastly, there’s a new setting that allows apps to start back up when a user signs in/out. It supports registered desktop apps, but they will start in a suspended state minimized to the taskbar to save resources. This is located in Sign-in options and is disabled by default.

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The Rest of the Features

Notepad has been with Windows since nearly the beginning and finally it has received some new features. This includes line numbers when using word-wrap, new Find experience when using word-wrap, notification when making unsaved changes, text zoom, and new shortcuts.

Since Windows 10 started with Feature Updates, areas of the operating system ported over from Windows 7 have slowly been phased out. This is apparent with every new release increasing the amount of features in Settings, and deprecating the old items. This version finally allows the Network Status page to be more comparable to Control Panel. The new Wifi 6 and WPA3 are now supported in 2004, preventing such attacks as DragonBlood and KRACK.

Just like Windows has handled it with Microsoft Office apps for years, there’s the new ability to automatically restore open UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps, such as Calendar and Mail, after a reboot. There’s also an improved tablet experience for convertible PCs.

And for years, gamers and administrators alike have begged for the Task Manager Performance tab to support graphics card performance options. Windows now includes GPU performance metrics, just like other major components. It should be noted that although GPU performance is now monitored, thermal metrics are still not included.

Some Driver Issues

It should also be noted that the initial release of Windows 10 2004 didn’t come without a few hiccups and this isn’t anything new (Windows 10 1809, anybody?). There have been reports of bugs in various drivers including peripherals, accessories like Bluetooth, audio as well as graphics and display issues. Fortunately for many, Microsoft already caught a number of these with Windows Insiders testing and has enabled a number of blocks for devices that may have these unsupported drivers.

For example, certain audio drivers were highlighted early: “To safeguard your update experience, we have applied a compatibility hold on Windows 10 devices with affected Conexant or Synaptics audio drivers installed from being offered Windows 10, version 2004 or Windows Server, version 2004 until the driver has been updated,” Microsoft stated. There are also outstanding issues with Realtek Bluetooth drivers, Intel integrated GPUs, Thunderbolt, and older Nvidia display adapters. For administrators, it’s always recommended to test the Feature Update first in an environment that’s representative of the production environment to catch any potential issues.

Organizations, as well as consumers, that run Windows 10 version 2004 will have full update support for 18 months (support until December 14, 2021).

How Syxsense Can Help

Overall, trusting Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or other third-party patching solutions may not bring these devices to a supported version successfully. Leveraging a cloud-based solution to bring older Windows 10 devices up-to-date ensures success and standardization, whether devices are inside or outside the network.

Syxsense Manage includes the ability to migrate managed devices to any desired version of Windows 10 through the use of a Feature Update task. Simply prepare end-user installation delay and reboot options, choose the devices to target, and select a time for the upgrade that works best for these target devices. A phased deployment approach is also recommended by the industry and is always easily done with Syxsense Manage.

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Windows 10 Remote Work Bug: Zero-Day Vulnerability

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Windows 10 Remote Work Bug: Zero-Day Vulnerability

New patches are available to address a Microsoft zero-day vulnerability, however these updates are not being made available in WSUS.

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More VPN Woes Amid Zero-Day Microsoft Vulnerability

With the unprecedented amount of staff working from home, the VPN is now more in demand than ever. Any IT professional whose remote workforce depends on VPN will be concerned about today’s zero-day vulnerability released by Microsoft.

The out-of-band optional update is now available on the Microsoft Update Catalog to address a known issue whereby devices using a proxy, especially those using a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status.

This should be simple enough, however these updates are not being made available via WSUS, so an alternative method must be adopted this time around.

Users of Syxsense will find the following patches in their console for immediate deployment:

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|End of Life Reboot Requirements|

Important Windows Reboot Requirements

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Important Windows Reboot Requirements

The most recent release of Microsoft updates includes an important reboot and critical patches to prepare Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2 for the support extension.

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Critical Updates & Essential Windows Reboot

In the most recent release of Microsoft updates, Microsoft has included updates to prepare Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for the support extension following the end of life on January 14, 2020.

Even if you have not purchased the extension, these updates are crucial and are required.

The following updates are part of that preparation stack and some go back to 2016:

  1. KB4041678
  2. KB3205394
  3. KB3197867
  4. KB3192391

It is important to note the vendor’s reboot discipline requirements for these updates, as a reboot is essential after each update is installed.

How Syxsense Can Help

This can be easily achieved within the Syxsense console, by separating these into simple, scheduled deploy and reboot tasks. Once rebooted, you can fully update the device without any further end user disruption.

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Microsoft Warns Windows 10 1803 Users to Upgrade

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Microsoft Warns Windows 10 1803 Users to Upgrade

Microsoft has started to display a warning to users running Windows 10 1803 that states the version is nearing end of support.
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Support for Microsoft Windows 10 Version 1803 (April 2018 Update), on consumer-based licenses, will be ending in just a few weeks. Microsoft has already started recommending an update to all end-users before the forced upgrade begins.

“Windows 10, version 1803 will reach the end of servicing on November 12, 2019. This applies to the following editions* of Windows 10 released in April of 2018: Windows 10, version 1803, Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and IoT Core,” Microsoft published on their website. “These editions will no longer receive security updates after November 12, 2019. Customers who contact Microsoft Support after this date will be directed to update their device to the latest version of Windows 10 to remain supported.”

Despite this only applying to non-enterprise licenses of Windows 10, since Enterprise and Education licenses will expire on November 10, 2020, it’s still imperative for all unsupported versions to be upgraded as soon as possible. Any unsupported devices will not receive the latest and greatest quality updates from Microsoft and will be left open to vulnerabilities until upgraded.

Earlier this year, Microsoft officials stated that they were putting AI algorithms in place that would automatically update those on older variants of Windows 10 directly to 1903, the May 29109 Update via the Windows Update service.

As of July 16, Microsoft started to initiate this upgrade for devices “that are at or nearing end of service and have not yet updated their device,” Microsoft’s documentation states.  “Based on a large number of devices running the April 2018 Update, that will reach end of 18 months of service [in November], we are starting the update process now for Home and Pro editions to help ensure adequate time for a smooth update process.”

Although this started back in June and we can only hope many personal devices have been automatically upgraded, end-users always seem to choose their own path and have been known to ‘turn-off’ the Windows Update services. Whether a personal device in a non-enterprise setting or versions of Windows 10 Pro being used within an organization, it’s still possible these consumer versions may exist within the industry and could potentially be left out-of-date as well as a major vulnerability within the network.

Leverage a Cloud-Based Solution

Trusting Windows Update alone, or even WSUS with Pro versions, may or may not bring these devices to a supported version.

Using a cloud-based solution to bring older Windows 10 devices up-to-date ensures success and standardization, whether devices are inside or outside the network.

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Microsoft Announces Critical Security Update For All Windows 10 Users

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Microsoft Announces Critical Security Update For All Windows 10 Users

Microsoft has launched a feature called Tamper Protection that will make Windows 10 devices more secure for all 900 million users.
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After the release of Windows 10 version 1903 (May 2019 Update), Microsoft has officially announced the introduction of a new Tamper Protection feature for its Microsoft Defender Antivirus service.

Tamper Protection is a feature of Microsoft Defender (previously Windows Defender) for both corporate and consumer versions of Windows 10. When enabled, it hinders any changes to the Windows Security settings by other programs, so that the only way to change the settings is through the Windows interface using an administrator account.

Work on the feature began back in December 2018, when it was first rolled out to Windows Insider previews and starting this week, the feature is available for all Microsoft Defender users on the May 2019 Update.

“Customer feedback on deployment and other aspects of the feature were critical in our journey towards today’s GA.” – Shweta Jha of the Microsoft Defender team.

Microsoft stated that the feature will be enabled by default for all users in the coming weeks, in a multi stage rollout. (If users don’t prefer to wait, Microsoft has stated they can also enable Tamper Protection right now.)

According to Microsoft, with Tamper Protection, malicious apps won’t be able to perform the following:

  • Disable virus and threat protection
  • Disable real-time protection
  • Turn off behavior monitoring
  • Disable Defender’s antivirus components
  • Disable cloud-delivered protection
  • Remote security intelligence updates

Microsoft states that Tamper Protection halts and prevents security settings from being altered through third-party apps and methods such as:

  • Configuring settings in Registry Editor on a Windows machine
  • Changing settings through Powershell cmdlets
  • Editing or removing security settings through group policies

“Tamper Protection prevents unwanted changes to security settings on devices. With this protection in place, customers can mitigate malware and threats that attempt to disable security protection features,” Jha from Microsoft elaborated. “We’re currently turning on the feature gradually…We believe it’s critical for customers, across home users and commercial customers, to turn on Tamper Protection to ensure that essential security solutions are not circumvented. We will continue working on this feature, including building support for older Windows versions.”

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Homeland Security Issues Critical BlueKeep Warning

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Homeland Security Issues Critical BlueKeep Warning

Homeland Security’s cyber agency says it has tested a working exploit for the BlueKeep vulnerability, capable of achieving remote code execution on a vulnerable device.
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The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has declared an official warning to patch the wormable BlueKeep flaw. After confirming the exploit can be used to remotely execute code on vulnerable PCs, the agency released an advisory reiterating the dangers of the vulnerability.

CVE-2019-0708, also known as BlueKeep, is a critical-rated bug that affects computers running Windows 7 and earlier. An exploit able to remotely run code or malware on an affected computer could trigger a global incident similar to the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017.

“CISA encourages users and administrators review the Microsoft Security Advisory and the Microsoft Customer Guidance for CVE-2019-0708 and apply the appropriate mitigation measures as soon as possible,” CISA writes in its alert.

CISA’s alert serves as a warning that malicious attackers could soon achieve the same results as WannaCry. As of last week, close to 1 million internet-exposed machines are still vulnerable to the flaw, according to researchers.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These devices are gateways to potentially millions more machines that sit on the internal networks they lead to. A wormable exploit can move laterally within that network, rapidly spreading to anything and everything it can infect in order to replicate and spread.

Earlier this month, The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) also issued a rare advisory, warning users to patch “in the face of growing threats” of exploitation.

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Syxsense has added a “BlueKeep At Risk Devices” report to every console to help you stay on top of emerging threats. In seconds, view a list of every device that hasn’t been scanned for the vulnerability see where the risk is detected.

With a few more clicks, you can deploy the patch to every device, run the report and prove to management that you are 100% compliant.

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Blue Screen of Death Occurring with Feature Updates

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Blue Screen of Death Occurring with Feature Updates

With the introduction of the newest Windows 10 Feature Version 1903, some security application vendors have published known issues when upgrading.
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This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Windows 10 upgrades being affected by antivirus or encryption software. But, in fact, Microsoft has always recommended to disable existing security software before upgrading to ensure that there isn’t any conflict during the process, and sometimes Windows will notify automatically.

“Moving to the newest feature version isn’t just another patch or update, but should be treated as an actual upgrade to the entire operating system,” says Jon Cassell, Senior Solutions Architect at Verismic Software, Inc. “Just disabling the security software won’t be enough, especially if it’s full disk encryption. Many recommend decrypting and/or uninstalling the application entirely before upgrading to the latest feature version.”

Recently, ESET has informed its Endpoint Encryption customers that upgrading to Windows 10, version 1903, causes boot errors. Specifically, post-upgrade presents an immediate blue screen error (BSOD) when booting. The device(s) receive the stop code “INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE” and must fully decrypt the volume before repairing the Windows installation manually. It’s feasible the entire volume may even become corrupt and require an entire reformat.

Rather than upgrade and jump through hoops, crossing your fingers that the volume can be repaired, it’s better to proactively prepare a strategy to uninstall the application, push the upgrade accordingly, then reinstall.

Using Syxsense, the inventory feature can easily show any registered security application, such as ESET, Trend Micro, or McAfee, and allow a silent uninstall to take place with software distribution. Once the application has been removed, simply push the new upgrade using Feature Updates and let the end-user decide when they want to install and when they want to reboot their device. Post-upgrade, re-leverage the software distribution feature again to re-install the security application silently; all without the need to troubleshoot a single device manually.

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