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Friday, August 06, 2004

Microsoft to finally release Windows Upgrade Service Pack 2

We all have been waiting for this for a long time and, it is a huge, 80 MB upgrade. To allow users to keep working, Microsoft will upload the service slowly. Nearly US$1 billion has gone into the package and the free upgrade is designed to make users safer from cyberattacks by sealing entries to viruses, better protecting of personal data and fending off spyware.

The upgrade is delayed, as the company needed to make sure that it works with all those other programs that are installed on a user's computer, from games to music download services. Users will be required to act more often with the computer - they will be asked if they really want to do what they intend to do - download and install programs. This is to protect them from being hit by a virus or to allow spyware to be installed.

The update is needed - too many things happen on the internet and users of the internet are frequently overwhelmed by requests to react. However, we are worried for two reasons, which are based on earlier experience - how long will the service pack be safe from attacks? There are too many attacks on Microsoft and frequently, just a couple of days after earlier updates, Microsoft released additional batches and again and again.

Okay, times are changing and attackers are learning, but there were cases that old security holes were left open or re-opened accidentally. Additionally, it is not clear how the communication between the computer and the user goes. Very often, these "inquiries" are technical - and the question is, does the average or normal user understands what is required or what is being asked.