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RE: Re: Microsoft Security, baby steps ?
From: John.Airey () rnib org uk
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 09:54:34 -0000

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick FitzGerald [mailto:nick () virus-l demon co uk]
Sent: Wednesday, 17 March 2004 02:16
To: full-disclosure () lists netsys com
Subject: RE: [Full-disclosure] Re: Microsoft Security, baby steps ?

John.Airey () rnib org uk wrote:

<<big snip>>
Come on Microsoft. How about putting together a single file 
that contains
all the "critical" security updates since the last service 
pack for a given
OS? Then us beleaguered admins can stick it on a CD 
together with the
relevant service packs and we'd no longer need to use the 
NIC until a
machine is fully patched.  ...

Ummmm -- can't you already do this yourself with the 
"catalog" feature 
of Windows Update??

No, you can't (and you certainly can't do it for NT4 at all). What you get
is a pile of updates that you would have to manually install and work out
the command line switches that prevent a reboot. These differ from package
to package. 

I don't recall if you need to use qchain afterwards, but let's say you do.
You are looking at a process that will take you the best part of a day for
one server. Which is why most people will use Windows Update to get the
system up to date (even then, you may need to upgrade IE to version 6,
reboot and then install all the updates and reboot again).

Compare with RedHat Linux (any version from 7 onwards IIRC). You copy all
the RPMs to a RedHat/RPMS directory. (eg /var/ftp/pub/RedHat/RPMS). Remove
any old RPMs that have been updated and put the new versions in their place.
Copy the /RedHat/base directory from the CD to a /RedHat/base directory ( eg

Then you do "/usr/lib/anaconda-runtime/genhdlist /var/ftp/pub" (in the above
example. You'll need the anaconda-runtime package installed). Any duplicate
packages will be alerted.

You now have a network installation directory that should be fully up to
date (if you've done your work properly). This will work for any number of
server installations. When you install from this using NFS, FTP or HTTP, the
next reboot will bring up a fully patched machine. If there are bugs in the
installer, these can be fixed independently of the final installed version.

Microsoft still have a long way to go.

John Airey, BSc (Jt Hons), CNA, RHCE
Internet systems support officer, ITCSD, Royal National Institute of the
Bakewell Road, Peterborough PE2 6XU,
Tel.: +44 (0) 1733 375299 Fax: +44 (0) 1733 370848 John.Airey () rnib org uk 

Shameless movie plug - go see the Passion of the Christ!


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