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Author Topic: Important Announcement if you are running Windows  (Read 6570 times)

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Offline VekseidTopic starter

Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« on: July 21, 2015, 01:28:01 AM »
Microsoft announced a particularly stunning security vulnerability this morning. It's actually a part of the overall Hacking Team leak and has been discussed for some weeks now, and has been in the wild for some years.

For some reason I completely spaced and had assumed that this was constrained to Flash, because, well, it's Adobe.

Remote kernel mode code execution in a font library that's been a part of Windows since Windows 2000. It doesn't matter what browser you use - Internet Explorer has supported embedding Opentype fonts in its own proprietary way since 5.5, and all other browsers have supported it for many years now.

If you are running Vista or later, please run Windows Update and ensure your system is up to date.

If you are still stuck on Windows XP or 2000, you will want to upgrade or switch to a non-Windows system.

This is easily the most serious vulnerability to ever be revealed for Windows. All you have to do is visit a bad or hijacked website.

As an aside, if you have Adobe Flash installed, I would highly recommend removing it. The more people who get rid of Flash, the more websites will stop relying on it, and the less you'll miss.

Likewise, if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, consider replacing it with Sumatra PDF or Foxit Reader.



Be safe, people.

Also, since not everyone is going to click the announcement, please make sure your friends and family are aware of this (here and elsewhere).
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 01:43:21 AM by Vekseid »

Offline Caitlin

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 01:56:35 AM »
Ouch, well that explains why Windows updated last night while it usually updates on Tuesdays. I disabled Flash when I learned of the vulnarability in it, but this bug is new to me as well. Thanks for the update!

Offline Blythe

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 02:00:23 AM »
Thanks for the update; I had no idea about any of this.  :-\

Also gonna ditch Adobe Reader and pick up Sumatra while I'm at it.

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 02:04:42 AM »
Not sure if it's because I'm dumb, or just tired. But I don't understand what's happening. >.<

Offline Stella

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 02:04:49 AM »
Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it!

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 02:21:14 AM »
Not sure if it's because I'm dumb, or just tired. But I don't understand what's happening. >.<

The vulnerability is in the code that turns font data into the characters you see on your screen. In Windows, this code runs with absolute privilege - it has more access to your own system than you do.

Microsoft released a fix on Windows Update, but not everyone has it set to automatically reboot their machines at a whim, and not everyone who does has it working.

Offline Haibane

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 03:07:18 AM »
Now I am worried. I can't run the update (I get an error when I try and run it) and Windows Update isn't running either even though I have set it to do so.

Win 7 Home Premium.

EDIT: Here's my Win Update settings - all looks fine:



But here is the problem:



Restarting the PC makes no difference.

Help! (please)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 03:15:46 AM by Haibane »

Offline Renegade Vile

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 03:42:40 AM »
*Winces* Lovely.

Offline Fenrisulfr

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 03:44:47 AM »
If you right click on "my computer" and pick "manage", then go to "services" and look for "Windows Update". Is it started? Is it set to "Automatic".

It has to be set to automatic to start automatically at a reboot. So any other setting will result in that error. Change it to automatic if needed.

If it is not started, try to start it and see if it is possible or if you get any error messages.

It is also worth to look in the event viewer, that you also can find through the window you started by picking manage. But I'm not sure how easy it is to understand.

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2015, 03:47:42 AM »
Now I am worried. I can't run the update (I get an error when I try and run it) and Windows Update isn't running either even though I have set it to do so.

Win 7 Home Premium.

EDIT: Here's my Win Update settings - all looks fine:



But here is the problem:



Restarting the PC makes no difference.

Help! (please)
Restart the computer, hit F8 when it starts, select "Safe Mode with Network" and try to update in safe mode.

Alternateluy, visit www.eset.com and rn their antivirus online check, get rid of the junk, if it finds any, and try again.

Offline Peripherie

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2015, 04:07:18 AM »
Thank you Veks, I really appreciate the heads up!

I have know about the issues with Adobe flash but I do know that many things that I use also use Flash. I've tried to read up on it and apply updates when I have heard (rightly or wrongly) that it is important to do so. I'm fine with removing it but does anyone know what kinds of big things actually use it (as in, what major things am I not going to be able to do/see if I get rid of it)?

Sadly I have no way of updating the computers I use for/at work. I know they use an outdated OS and I know they use Adobe. (It is a VERY large organization and it isn't as simple as me passing along this information and I may not have the ability to update anything. Even if I do some things are restored each time I boot it up.)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 04:23:27 AM by Peripherie »

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2015, 04:23:27 AM »

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 04:35:32 AM »
Thank you Veks, I really appreciate the heads up!

I have know about the issues with Adobe flash but I do know that many things that I use also use Flash. I've tried to read up on it and apply updates when I have heard (rightly or wrongly) that it is important to do so. I'm fine with removing it but does anyone know what kinds of big things actually use it (as in, what major things am I not going to be able to do/see if I get rid of it)?

Sadly I have no way of updating the computers I use for/at work. I know they use an outdated OS and I know they use Adobe. (It is a VERY large organization and it isn't as simple as me passing along this information and I may not have the ability to update anything. Even if I do some things are restored each time I boot it up.)

Most major websites are moving to webm/h.264 for video and animation ('gifv'). There's even a standing request for us to do it at E here - I will see if I can get that into Elkarte (should be fairly easy).

The only major video websites that were still using flash the last time I did a survey were pornhub, youporn, redtube, etc. Everyone else uses html5 embedded video.

The big difference is older sites like Homestar Runner and Albino Blacksheep, as well as flash game sites.

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2015, 05:21:01 AM »
Thanks Veks. I'll disable Flash, at least for the time being (until this is sorted out, if it can be). I have the full version of Adobe Acrobat so I'd rather not get rid of it.

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2015, 05:24:25 AM »
Is Firefox considered a Windows program?  I am not computer-savvy, so I am now really scared.  I have already removed Flash just to be safe.  Does this mean that ALL Adobe programs have gone bad?  If so, I'll immediately remove the only other Adobe I have installed:  Adobe Reader XI

I'll be looking into the alternate options though.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2015, 06:57:05 AM »
Is Firefox considered a Windows program?  I am not computer-savvy, so I am now really scared.  I have already removed Flash just to be safe.  Does this mean that ALL Adobe programs have gone bad?  If so, I'll immediately remove the only other Adobe I have installed:  Adobe Reader XI

I'll be looking into the alternate options though.

If you're running Windows, it's a Windows program.

I recommend replacing Reader with one of the two programs I suggested above. Adobe Reader has had its share of vulnerabilities. My sister's machine got owned through an embedded .pdf.

Now I am worried. I can't run the update (I get an error when I try and run it) and Windows Update isn't running either even though I have set it to do so.

Win 7 Home Premium.

EDIT: Here's my Win Update settings - all looks fine:



But here is the problem:



Restarting the PC makes no difference.

Help! (please)

If you try the steps others have mentioned, you might see more insightful information/errors.

More seriously, your situation is the sort of thing I'm trying to reach out to and/or prevent. : /

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2015, 07:06:06 AM »
Most major websites are moving to webm/h.264 for video and animation ('gifv'). There's even a standing request for us to do it at E here - I will see if I can get that into Elkarte (should be fairly easy).

The only major video websites that were still using flash the last time I did a survey were pornhub, youporn, redtube, etc. Everyone else uses html5 embedded video.

The big difference is older sites like Homestar Runner and Albino Blacksheep, as well as flash game sites.
Also Pandora Radio uses Flash.

Offline Geraint

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2015, 07:07:37 AM »

Likewise, if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, consider replacing it with Sumatra PDF or Foxit Reader.

Thanks Veks for the timely warning.

I have a question about PDF readers though.  I've looked at the ones you mentioned, but have also seen the PDF-XChange Viewer mentioned prominently in reviews when I was researching them.  Was there a particular reason you didn't include it?  Should it be avoided?

Thanks

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2015, 07:30:48 AM »
Thanks Veks for the timely warning.

I have a question about PDF readers though.  I've looked at the ones you mentioned, but have also seen the PDF-XChange Viewer mentioned prominently in reviews when I was researching them.  Was there a particular reason you didn't include it?  Should it be avoided?

Thanks

Just haven't used it myself.

Because they're not official Adobe products, sometimes one of the free readers is missing important features, so viewing newer pdfs could sometimes be a problem. I haven't had that issue in years, though.

Offline Angelus

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2015, 07:35:47 AM »
Thanks for giving several f#$%! and giving us such information. I'll definitely be using this advice to increase my computer's safety as well as my immediate fams' n' friends'. <3 <3 <3 -glompsVekwithsomuchluffs-

Offline Geraint

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2015, 07:38:08 AM »
Just haven't used it myself.

Because they're not official Adobe products, sometimes one of the free readers is missing important features, so viewing newer pdfs could sometimes be a problem. I haven't had that issue in years, though.

Thanks Veks, I appreciate the guidance. :D

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2015, 08:23:31 AM »
Eek, this sucks, we have to use Flash at work, but at least we use Foxit (which is a great PDF reader for anyone that's curious, I use it on a daily basis and it has wonderful tools). Would this issue be affecting the Google OS at all?

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2015, 08:45:44 AM »
If this is being caused in relation to/by embedded fonts, I wonder if there is any threat posed by fonts available on online font sites like Fontsquirrel.

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Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2015, 08:56:17 AM »
Whoo-boy. I'm in full cleaning mode. I'm all updated and running every kind of scan I've got access to.

Offline Golden Spider

Re: Important Announcement if you are running Windows
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2015, 10:11:10 AM »
The vulnerability is in the code that turns font data into the characters you see on your screen. In Windows, this code runs with absolute privilege - it has more access to your own system than you do.

Microsoft released a fix on Windows Update, but not everyone has it set to automatically reboot their machines at a whim, and not everyone who does has it working.

This explains why it wants me to upgrade again when I just did so Saturday. Thank you. If I didn't hear about this I probably would've put it off for a couple days