Tag Archives: Windows Update

Microsoft releases additional updates to protect against potential nation-state activity

On May 12, 2017, the WannaCrypt ransomware served as an all too real example of the danger of cyber attacks to individuals and businesses globally.

In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyber attacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors or other copycat organizations. To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows. Due to the elevated risk for destructive cyber attacks at this time, we made the decision to take this action because applying these updates provides further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt. For more technical information and links to related articles, visit our Microsoft Security Response Center blog.

It is important to note that if you’re running a supported version of Windows, such as Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, and you have Windows Update enabled, you don’t need to take any action. As always, we recommend customers upgrade to the latest platforms. The best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest innovations. Older systems, even if fully up-to-date, lack the latest security features and advancements.

If you’re unsure what version of Windows you’re running, or whether you have Windows Update enabled, there are links at the bottom of this page to help you check.

We appreciate your business and are committed to delivering the most secure and trusted technology possible in today’s complex and interconnected world.

Additional Resources:

Visit this link for help determining which Windows operating system you’re running.  

Visit this link if you’re running a version of Windows that no longer receives extended support.

Visit this link for help enabling Windows Update.

For more technical information and links to updates for products no longer in extended support see our Microsoft Security Response Center blog.

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Kinect demo code and new driver for UWP now available

Here’s a little memory test: Do you recall this blog, which posted back in May and promised to soon begin integrating Kinect for Windows into the Universal Windows Platform? Of course you do! Now we are pleased to announce two important developments in the quest to make Kinect functionality available to UWP apps.

First, by popular demand, the code that Alex Turner used during his Channel 9 video (above) is now available on GitHub as part of the Windows universal samples. With this sample, you can use Windows.Media.Capture.Frames APIs to enumerate the Kinect sensor’s RGB/IR/depth cameras and then use MediaFrameReader to stream frames. This API lets you access pixels of each individual frame directly in a highly efficient way.

These new functionalities debuted in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and structure of the APIs should be familiar to those who’ve been using the Kinect SDK for years. But these new APIs are designed to work not only with the Kinect sensor but with any other sensors capable of delivering rich data streams—provided you have a matching device driver.

Which brings us to our second announcement: We have now enabled the Kinect driver on Windows Update. So if you’d like try out this new functionality now, simply go to the Device Manager and update the driver for the Kinect sensor. In addition to enabling the new UWP APIs described above, the new driver also lets you use the Kinect color camera as a normal webcam. This means that apps which use a webcam, such as Skype, can now employ the Kinect sensor as their source. It also means that you can use the Kinect sensor to enable Windows Hello for authentication via facial recognition.

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Another GitHub sample demonstrates how to use new special-correlation APIs, such as CameraIntrinsics or DepthCorrelatedCoordinateMapper, to process RGB and depth camera frames for background removal. These APIs take advantage of the fact that the Kinect sensor’s color and depth cameras are spatially correlated by calibration and depth frame data. This sample also shows how to access the Kinect sensor’s skeletal tracking data through a custom media stream in UWP apps with newly introduced APIs.

Finally, we should note that the Xbox summary update also enables these Kinect features through Windows.Media.Capture.Frames for UWP apps. Thus, apps that use the Kinect sensor’s RGB, infrared, and/or depth cameras will run on Xbox with same code, and Xbox can also use the Kinect RGB camera as a normal webcam for Skype-like scenarios

Judging from requests, we’re confident that many of you are eager to explore both the demo code and download the new driver. When you do, we want to hear about your experiences—what you liked, what you didn’t, and what enhancements you want to see. So send us your feedback!

Please note that, if you have technical questions about this post or would like to discuss Kinect with other developers and Microsoft engineers, we hope you will join the conversation on the Kinect for Windows v2 SDK forum. You can browse existing topics or ask a new question by clicking the Ask a question button on the forum webpage.

The Kinect for Windows Team

Key links

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Announcing Windows Update for Business

Today at Ignite, I had the pleasure of sharing how we’ve designed Windows Update for Business to empower IT Professionals to keep the Windows devices in their organization always up to date with the latest security defenses and Windows features. Windows Update for Business will be a free service for all Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices – and in this blog I want to explain how this service is unique and valuable among today’s smart-device ecosystems.

Today’s announcement builds on a journey that began in September when we first introduced Windows 10 for business. Since then, we’ve shared additional chapters of our Windows 10 story for business, focusing on security, deployment, manageability, and much more. And of course, this all builds on the Windows 10 end-user experience designed to empower everyone to do great things – with a familiar Start menu, a new Action Center, Continuum, Windows Hello, and of course, Cortana (soon, you can check out this demo Joe Belfiore did today of Cortana enabling you to ask natural language questions and extrapolate the answer from Power BI! It will be located here).

Today’s Security Landscape

All that being said, a top design priority has been to prepare Windows 10 for today’s complex and high profile security threat landscape. We’ve been designing Windows 10 security at all layers of the stack:

  1. Device protection, beginning with hardware-based Secure Boot to ensure that only trusted software loads when the device is turned on. Next, Windows 10’s new Device Guard feature ensures applications from trusted sources, including the Windows Store for Business, are allowed to run. Device Guard is backed by hardware-based Hyper-V isolation making it robust against software-based threats. Finally, Windows 10 includes a new device health capability that allows enterprises and websites to ensure that users only access services from healthy, fully updated, and compliant devices.
  2. Identity protection, with Windows 10’s Microsoft Passport feature, leveraging hardware-based Hyper-V isolation to protect credentials and securely authenticate with websites and networks on your behalf—without sending up a password. With Microsoft Passport, there is no password to be phished from the user or stored on a server for hackers to potentially compromise. Microsoft Passport puts enterprises on the path to putting “pass the hash” attacks behind them for good. And of course, there’s Windows Hello which makes biometric authentication simpler than ever.
  3. Application protection, with the Windows Store for Business, certifying applications before distribution and Device Guard ensuring enterprise devices only run those certified applications.
  4. Information protection, with Windows 10’s Enterprise Data Protection functionality, which can automatically encrypt corporate apps, data, email, website content and other sensitive information, as it arrives on the device from corporate network locations.

With all these protections in place, the fact still remains, the number one thing a business can do to protect their devices is to keep them up-to-date with the latest security updates. Here at Microsoft, we take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We follow up on all reported security issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones.

This level of commitment and support is far different than Android, for example, where Google refuses to take responsibility for updating their customers’ devices, leaving end-users and business increasingly exposed every day they use the device.

Today’s Updating Process

For all of our Windows consumers, we offer Windows Update as a free service. We currently manage over 850M diverse Windows devices through Windows Update, updating them regularly with security and quality improvements. With Windows 10, Windows Update will also be regularly delivering ongoing Windows innovation in addition to security updates.

For all of our Windows business customers, we support a variety of update management solutions. These solutions enable a business to select which updates to deploy to which devices on what schedule. The design point of these Windows updating solutions was to enable Windows business devices to be selectively updated like mainframes – where reliability is paramount, with a guiding philosophy of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” And still today, this capability is well utilized on many Windows mission critical devices worldwide. With Windows 10, we are improving our support of these mission critical deployments by offering “Long Term Servicing Branches” that contain ONLY security updates, without any functional updates.

However, when considering the end-user devices in business today, it’s clear this approach is not ideal. People at work expect the same Windows innovations which are being delivered to their Windows consumer devices, but selective updating introduces delays in roll outs. Selective updating at scale also creates customer-unique quality issues, since we rigorously test the platform as an integrated whole. Selective updating creates platform fragmentation for developers, which impedes innovation and creates quality problems with apps. And last but not least, selective updating is an expensive, thankless task for IT professionals. With Windows 10, we need a new approach for end-user devices at work.

Introducing Windows Update for Business

With Windows 10, we’re excited to provide you a new option – Windows Update for Business. We have been working with IT professionals all over the world to design new capabilities in Windows Update, designed for end-user devices within businesses. Windows Update for Business will provide:

  • Distribution rings, where the IT Pro can specify which devices go first in an update wave, and which ones will come later (to ensure any quality kinks are worked out).
  • Maintenance windows, where the IT Pro can specify the critical timeframes when updates should and should not occur.
  • Peer to peer delivery, which IT can enable to make delivery of updates to branch offices and remote sites with limited bandwidth very efficient.
  • Integration with your existing tools like System Center and the Enterprise Mobility Suite – so that these tools can continue to be that ‘single pane of glass’ for all of your systems management.

Windows Update for Business will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates, and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis. Windows Update for Business is FREE for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices. It’s part of our intelligent cloud – we will update and maintain Windows devices for you, while still giving you control.

If you are interested in shaping Windows Update for Business with us, please join the Windows 10 Insider Program today. As you roll out Windows 10, we recommend you segment your Windows devices and consider the best updating approach for each class of device, and then start a pilot of Windows Update for Business with your end-user devices. Together, as partners in the innovation of IT, we will make this a great solution for your business end-user computing needs.

Thanks,
Terry

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