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Microsoft withdraws botched Exchange patch

Microsoft withdraws botched Exchange patch

Microsoft has withdrawn yet another botched patch from Windows Update, following the discovery that it can knock the Exchange server content index offline.

Microsoft has once again been forced to withdraw a security patch released as part of its Patch Tuesday monthly update cycle, following the discovery that it breaks a key aspect of Exchange server functionality.

Designed for corporate communications, Microsoft Exchange Server offers email, calendaring and contact management for Windows Server platforms. As a result, it's often business-critical for corporations with a Microsoft-centric network - and a bug that puts its reliability into question is, naturally, extremely serious.

Which is why it's doubly embarrassing for Microsoft that an update designed to fix a major security hole which allows for arbitrary remote code execution, MS13-061 2876063, has turned out to be almost as bad as the flaw it intended to fix. When installed, it transpires, the update breaks the content index for mailbox databases - causing mail searching to fail completely.

'Late last night we became aware of an issue with MS13-061 security update for Exchange Server 2013. Specifically, after the installation of the security update, the Content Index for mailbox databases shows as Failed and the Microsoft Exchange Search Host Controller service is renamed,' Microsoft's Ross Smith IV admitted in a blog post on the matter. 'If you have not installed MS13-061 security update on your Exchange 2013 servers, we recommend not proceeding with the update at this time.'

Although the update has now been pulled from the Windows Update system, those who uses WSUS or other patching services may still have the update cached and should manually mark it as not to be installed - although this will, unfortunately, leave the systems vulnerable to exploitation through the original vulnerability. For those who have already been caught by the buggy update, a knowledge base article provides a workaround for the flaw.

This is not the first time Microsoft has been forced to withdraw an update in recent months: in July a security patch broke WMV-based applications, in June another patch caused CPUs to spin, and in April a kernel-mode driver patch resulted in crashes and reboot cycles.

3 Comments

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Corky42 15th August 2013, 11:33 Quote
There are stirrings that this isn't the only patch causing problems.
Apparently KB2859537, is causing lots of problems on Windows 7, as reported on Microsoft Community.
The MSKB article on the patch does mention, Some users may experience issues with certain games after they install security update 2859537.
Is it me or have these botched patch's becoming more frequent in the last year or so ?
Gareth Halfacree 15th August 2013, 11:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Is it me or have these botched patch's becoming more frequent in the last year or so ?
They certainly seem to be: of the last five Patch Tuesdays, only May went without at least one patch being withdrawn and reissued.
Gareth Halfacree 16th August 2013, 09:03 Quote
Small update: Microsoft has now recalled a second patch, this time targeting the even-more-critical Active Directory service. The potentially faulty patch highlighted by Corky42 above, however, is still being distributed by Windows Update.
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