Urgent: New Remote Desktop Vulnerability

Remote Desktop is used by most IT service firms to do remote computer maintenance. It’s also a great tool for allowing people to work from home. This week, Microsoft disclosed a vulnerability in Remote Desktop that could allow anyone to remotely connect to your computer and run programs.  According to Microsoft, “…due to the attractiveness of this vulnerability to attackers, we anticipate that an exploit for code execution will be developed in the next 30 days.”

The main message here is to install the appropriate patches for your computer. These are detailed here. If you turn on Automatic Updates, or check for updates from Windows Update, you’ll automatically get the patches you need.

There are additional precautions you can take, most notably requiring Network Level Authentication if you are running Windows Vista/Server 2008, or Windows 7/Server 2008 R2. Note that this will prevent Windows XP clients from connecting by default, but if you are running XP SP3 (and you should be) you can quickly enable connection to NLA-protected computers by following this article.

Confused or unsure about whether your systems are vulnerable? Feel free to ask general questions in the comments below, or contact MCB Systems to arrange for a consultation.

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