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Update Issued To Address Microsoft Malware Engine Issue

By June 15, 2017March 1st, 2023Cybersecurity

Microsoft has issued an emergency, out-of-band patch to shore up some critical weaknesses in Window’s Malware Protection Engine.

This is an unseen part of the OS that actively scans and prevents malicious code from ever making its way onto your system in the first place. It operates independently of any antivirus software you might be using.

Unfortunately, as with any software, it’s not perfect. Google’s Project Zero has identified a total of eight critical security issues with the Malware Protection Issue that Microsoft deemed worrisome enough to take the step of issuing a patch outside their normal schedule.

The eight flaws identified broadly fall into two categories. Five of them were shortcomings in the code that would allow a hacker to completely disable by conducting a DDOS (Dedicated Denial of Service) style attack.

This is a rather crude, but devastating attack that amounts to using a battering ram to knock a hole in the digital walls protecting you. Once those walls are down, the hackers can insert whatever code they like.

The other three issues revolve around RCE (Remote Code Execution) flaws, which allow hackers to remotely disable the Malware Protection Engine, then infect your machine with whatever they like.

There’s nothing you need to do to get the latest patch. It will install automatically unless you’ve made a deep dive into the Malware Protection Engine’s settings and intentionally hobbled its ability to update automatically (which is not recommended).

Note that the Malware Protection Engine is an integral part of multiple Windows products, including:

• Windows Defender
• Exchange Server
• Endpoint Protection
• Forefront Endpoint Protection
• Windows Intune Endpoint Protection
• Security Essentials

And many others, so in terms of the level of seriousness, these flaws are about as bad as it could possibly get. In fact, a member of Google’s Project Zero team described the flaws as “crazy bad,” and said it was the worst Windows code flaw in recent memory.

Microsoft’s most recent scheduled patch came out on “Patch Tuesday,” which was June 13.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.