Security Experts:

Last Minute Issue Delays Microsoft Security Updates

Microsoft has apologized to customers “for any inconvenience” after a last minute issue forced the company to delay the release of its security updates for February 2017. It’s unclear when the patches will be made available.

“Our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for customers in maintaining and protecting their systems. This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today,” Microsoft said. “After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates.”

The security updates released by the company for January 2017 consisted of only four bulletins, including one for Flash Player fixes. It is unclear how many flaws will be patched this month, but many hope Microsoft will address the recently disclosed denial-of-service (DoS) flaw in Windows caused by how SMB traffic is handled.

Starting this month, Microsoft will no longer publish security bulletins, replacing them with an online database called Security Updates Guide. For January, the company published both security bulletins and some release notes in the Security Updates Guide.

Microsoft has recently introduced a new patch process that includes a Monthly Rollup, which contains both security and non-security fixes, a preview of the Monthly Rollup, and security-only updates.

In order to reduce the size of the security-only update, starting with this month, Internet Explorer patches will be made available as a separate update. The Monthly Rollup will include all patches, including the ones for IE.

The decision to separate the browser updates was made after users asked Microsoft to provide increased flexibility by allowing them to independently deploy Windows and Internet Explorer patches.

Johannes B. Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Technology Institute, speculated that this change in process may have caused this month’s delay.

Related: Microsoft Patches Several Publicly Disclosed Flaws

Related: Microsoft Patches Windows Zero-Day Exploited by Russian Hackers

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.