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Microsoft Reissues Windows Kernel Patch

After nearly two weeks of tweaking, Microsoft is resuming automatic distribution of a Windows kernel patch through Windows Update.

Microsoft halted distribution last month after some users reported the appearance of "blue screens of death" following installation of the patch (MS10-015), which was part of Microsoft's February security update. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced an updated version of the patch to help avoid that problem.

This patch is said to contain "detection logic that searches for indications of the Alureon rootkit." Alureon is a strain of malware found to be at the heart of the Windows kernel patch installation issue. It alters system files used by Windows, rendering the patch ineffective and causing "blue screens" at startup.

Microsoft outlined the particulars of the problem, particularly for enterprise users, in this Knowledge Base article.

Microsoft spokesman Jerry Bryant said in an e-mailed statement that Redmond is currently working to develop an automated solution to "detect and remove Alureon rootkit from affected systems."

"We anticipate that tools for both consumers and enterprise customers will be available in a few weeks," Bryant said.

Microsoft had originally issued the MS10-015 patch to fix a long-unaddressed bug in the Windows kernel that could allow a hacker to elevate access privileges on a hijacked system. The patch is based on a security advisory that the software giant released in late January.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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