No patch for Microsoft Shortcut Vulnerability available for XP SP2 or any other end-of-life Windows release

If your enterprise is running Microsoft XP with Service Pack 2, then I’ve got news for you: It’s now reached its end of support as of July 13, 2010. Check out Microsoft’s post on it here.

What does this actually mean? If you require a critical patch for your systems that are running XP SP2, you won’t be able to obtain one.  See the snippet from Microsoft:

Customers running an unsupported version of Windows or service pack will not be eligible for any of our support options. Updates, including security updates released with bulletins from the Microsoft Security Response Center, will be reviewed and built for the supported versions and service packs only.

With regards to the Shortcut Vulnerability, some analysts predicted that Microsoft would lax their rules and provide a patch for end of support releases as some SCADA systems are running these releases but Microsoft stuck to its policy; only patches for supported releases.  As I mentioned in my previous post, ALL Windows releases are impacted by this vulnerability.

The workaround provided by Microsoft can still be applied to these unsupported releases.  The issue with the workaround is it eliminates the use of image icons associated with shortcuts. Every shortcut now will have the same file associated with it instead of the word icons for word docs, or Firefox or IE for html shortcuts.  As a user, I wouldn’t be too happy with this.   Click here for the workaround.

I don’t think Microsoft did the right thing here but until these vendors begin to complain, there is no reason for Microsoft to deviate away from it’s policy.

Gregg Keizer of Computerworld wrote an excellent article on this. Click here for more information.

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One Response to "No patch for Microsoft Shortcut Vulnerability available for XP SP2 or any other end-of-life Windows release"

  1. “Applying the Fix it removes the graphical representation of icons on the Task bar and Start menu bar and replaces them with white icons that do not have the graphical representation of the icon.”

    Before deploying the SP2 workaround, administrators should test the impact on usability. With the taskbar containing all white icons, can an operator determine the task running. I am not sure if icon hints still. Regardless over every task to determine the task running is tedious and time consuming.

    Migration to SP3 is the preferred solution.

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