Networking snafu gums up Microsoft security patches

A networking glitch has made Microsoft's security updates unavailable to many users

Networking problems have kept Microsoft from distributing its latest security patches to users of its automatic update services.

The updates, released at about 11 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, fix a whopping 26 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and the .Net framework. Many of these flaws are considered critical, but as of 2 p.m. they were still unavailable via many of Microsoft's most popular update services.

The problem is due to "some network issues on the Microsoft Update platform," according to Microsoft's Craig Gehere, who wrote about the issue in a blog posting. That posting can be found here.

The security updates were not available to users of Microsoft Update, Automatic Updates, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and Windows Update, version 6, Gehere said.

Microsoft Update users trying to use the service to check for high-priority updates, for example, were told, "The website has encountered a problem and cannot display the page you are trying to view."

Users of Software Update Services (SUS), Windows Update version 4, and Office Update are not affected by the glitch, Gehere said.

Gehere said that the networking problems should be fixed by the end of the day. "Technical teams are engaged and have been working around the clock to resolve this problem," he wrote.

A spokesman with Microsoft's public relations firm could not say exactly what had caused the update services to fail.

The snafu comes at a difficult time for Microsoft users. These latest security updates address the largest number of vulnerabilities in recent memory, and hackers are already known to be exploiting three of the bugs. During the past few weeks, attack code has been spotted that exploits critical flaws in the Windows operating system, Word and PowerPoint, all of which were patched Tuesday.

Customers who do not want to wait for Microsoft's update services to get back online can go to Microsoft's Security Bulletin pages and manually download their updates from the links in the 10 bulletins Microsoft has issued. Those bulletins can be found here.

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