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UPDATE: Microsoft Ending E-Mail Security Notifications on July 1

Microsoft issued a notice today that it plans to no longer deliver its security alerts via e-mail, starting on July 1.

The notice to IT pros indicates that Microsoft is suspending the use of e-mail notifications for security bulletins, security advisories and revisions to its advisories and bulletins. The reason for the cancellation wasn't explained by Microsoft, although its notice pointed to "changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging."

A late-breaking Update from a Microsoft spokesperson indicated that Microsoft has reversed course on this decision: "On June 27, 2014, Microsoft notified customers that we were suspending Microsoft Security Notifications due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging. We have reviewed our processes and will resume these security notifications with our monthly Advanced Notification Service (ANS) on July 3, 2014."

Readers of Shavlik's Patchmanagement.org list-serve are pointing to a new Canadian antispam law that takes effect on July 1 as the cause. The law, described here and here, is aimed at curbing unsolicited e-mails. It prohibits the sending of electronic mail to recipients unless they have consented to receiving it.

Ironically, Microsoft's cancellation notice was delivered via e-mail to subscribers of Microsoft's security notifications e-mail list, so it might be thought that all on that list had opted in to receive the notifications. In addition, subscribers in the United States are receiving Microsoft's cancellation notice, even though it would seem that only Canadians would be affected by the new law.

Microsoft pointed IT pros to this page to subscribe to RSS feeds. The feeds deliver various Microsoft alerts and security advisories via an RSS newsreader, although that method might be less convenient than getting them by e-mail. Microsoft also centralizes security information here.

Here is Microsoft's notice about the cancellation of e-mail security notifications, as delivered on June 27:

Notice to IT professionals:

As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is suspending the use of email notifications that announce the following:

* Security bulletin advance notifications
* Security bulletin summaries
* New security advisories and bulletins
* Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins

In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website.

For more information, or to sign up for an RSS feed, visit the Microsoft Technical Security Notifications webpage at http://technet.microsoft.com/security/dd252948

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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