Microsoft released its January 2020 Patch Tuesday update this week to patch its software from nearly 50 vulnerabilities.
One of the most critical vulnerabilities affects Windows’ cryptographic functionality.
“Exploitation of the vulnerability allows attackers to defeat trusted network connections and deliver executable code while appearing as legitimately trusted entities,” states a release from the National Security Agency.
This could affect:
Secure, https connections
Signed files and emails
Signed executable code launched as user-mode processes
According to the NSA, “the vulnerability affects Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019, as well as applications that rely on Windows for trust functionality.”
What Should You Do?
If your organization runs on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019, download the update and install it as soon as possible to mitigate the risk posed by this vulnerability.
The NSA says that if organization-wide automated patching can’t be done right away, then “prioritize patching endpoints that provide essential or broadly replied-upon services. Examples include:
Windows-based web appliances, web servers, or proxies that perform TLS validation.
Endpoints that host critical infrastructure (e.g. domain controllers, DNS servers, update servers, VPN servers, IPSec negotiation).”
In addition, if you are on Windows 10, you need to have a plan in place to do the “version upgrades” when your version of Windows 10 expires.
This is how Microsoft now handles operating system updates instead of taking an old OS to “end of life.”
If you have an older version of Windows 10, you are not receiving security updates.
Pay attention to the latest updates to ensure your Windows 10 version is current.
What If You’re Not On Windows 10?
Organizations still running on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are at an enhanced risk, as those systems have recently seen their “end of life” date, meaning security updates are no longer supported.
In other words, this highlights the need to update your system infrastructure.
Check with your IT team or IT provider to ensure they are on top of these updates to protect your software, endpoints, and data.