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IT-DISCUSS  September 2004

IT-DISCUSS September 2004

Subject:

Re: To SP2 or not?

From:

Victor Rossi <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Technology Discussion at UVM <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 09:04:28 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines)

Ernie Buford wrote:

> What security benefits does SP2 provide
> that you wouldn't get from Windows Update?
> (besides a firewall that many users are disabling
> anyway, from what I hear.)
>
> Do you really need to install SP2?  It seems
> reasonable to expect that important security
> fixes would be provided separately to allow for
> users who can't/won't install SP2 (or am I giving
> Microsoft too much credit....)
>
> EB
>
Here is the boilerplate from microsoft.  Sorry to not just send the url,
but SP2 deleted it..

*****

Overview of Windows XP Service Pack 2 Security Technologies
Many customers do not or cannot roll out security updates as soon as
they become available, but still need to be protected against the risks
that these security updates are designed to mitigate. Each security
bulletin that Microsoft delivers includes information that customers can
use to help mitigate risk while they deploy the update. However,
Microsoft is delivering other security technologies that provide
additional mitigation when a security update cannot be deployed
immediately. These security technologies cover the following areas:
•       Network protection. These security technologies help to provide better
protection against network-based attacks, like MSBlaster, through a
number of innovations, including enhancements to Windows Firewall. The
enhancements include turning on Windows Firewall in default
installations of Service Pack 2, closing ports except when they are in
use, improving the user interface for configuration, improving
application compatibility when Windows Firewall is on, and enhancing
enterprise administration of Windows Firewall through Group Policy. The
attack surface of the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service is reduced,
and you can run RPC objects with reduced credentials. The Distributed
Component Object Model (DCOM) infrastructure also has additional access
control restrictions to reduce the risk of a successful network attack.
•       Memory protection. Some attacks by malicious software leverage
software security vulnerabilities that allow too much data to be copied
into areas of the computer’s memory. These vulnerabilities are typically
referred to as buffer overruns. Although no single technique can
completely eliminate this type of vulnerability, Microsoft is employing
a number of security technologies to mitigate these attacks from
different angles. First, core Windows components have been recompiled
with the most recent version of our compiler technology. Additionally,
Microsoft is working with microprocessor companies to help Windows
support hardware-enforced execution protection (also known as NX, or no
execute) on microprocessors that contain the feature. Execution
protection uses the CPU to mark all memory locations in an application
as non-executable unless the location explicitly contains executable
code. This way, when an attacking worm or virus inserts program code
into a portion of memory marked for data only, an application or Windows
component will not run it.
•       Safer e-mail handling. Security technologies help to stop viruses
(such as SoBig.F) that spread through e-mail and instant messaging.
These technologies include default settings that have enhanced security,
improved attachment control for Outlook Express and Windows Messenger,
and increased Outlook Express security and reliability. As a result,
potentially unsafe attachments that are sent through e-mail and instant
messages are isolated so that they cannot affect other parts of the system.
•       Enhanced browsing security. Security technologies that are delivered
in Microsoft Internet Explorer provide improved protection against
malicious content on the Web. One enhancement includes locking down the
Local Machine zone to prevent against the running of malicious scripts
and fortifying against harmful Web downloads. Additionally, better user
controls and user interfaces are provided that help prevent malicious
ActiveX® controls and spyware from running on customers’ systems without
their knowledge and consent.

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