Microsoft releases KB4522355 for Windows 10 version 1903

Microsoft released a new cumulative update for the current version of Windows 10, Windows 10 version 1903, on October 24, 2019.

The new update is a non-security update that is completely optional to install; all of its changes will also be included in the November 2019 Patch Tuesday update that Microsoft will release on November 12, 2019 to the public.

The update follows last week’s updates that Microsoft released for earlier versions of Windows 10 and Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well as server variants.

KB4522355 for Windows 10 version 1903

KB4522355 windows 10 1903

KB4522355 is made available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and as a direct download on Microsoft’s Update Catalog website.

The update includes the following improvements and fixes:

  • Fixed an issue affecting Origin HTTP headers in Internet Explorer.
  • Fixed a Microsoft Narrator issue that prevented it from working in “certain touch mode scenarios”. Fixed another Microsoft Narrator issue that had it stop working.
  • Fixed an issue that affected setting synchronization if “Continue experiences on this device” was set to disabled in the Group Policy.
  • Fixed an issue with assistive technology features.
  • Fixed the error message “OACClearArry: Cannot connect to Trace32 OLE Automation server. Error code: -2147483645.” that appeared when opening apps after enabling NT Virtual DOS Machine and the legacy console mode.
  • Fixed a Magnifier issue that caused it to stop working (users had to restart to get it working again).
  • Updated time zone information for Fiji Islands, Australia and Norfolk Island.
  • Fixed an issue with the color command when setting the default Command Prompt window color.
  • Fixed a Microsoft Windows Search Indexer issue that caused it to “add or repair required access control lists without checking” if those exist.
  • Fixed an issue that had Win32 application controls fail to render correctly when started from logoff scripts using the “run shutdown scripts visible” policy.
  • Fixed an issue caused by too many font installations on a system that caused applications to stop responding.
  • Fixed a high CPU usage issue in the Desktop Window Manager that occurred when disconnected Remote Desktop Protocol sessions.
  • Fixed a scroll bar selection issue in Internet Explorer.
  • Fixed an issue that made the system go to Sleep after 2 minutes of inactivity even if the sleep timer was set to “never sleep”.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented users from resizing windows.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Microsoft SharePoint filenames to appear incorrectly.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the successful establishing of VPN connections.
  • Fixed a screen flickering or “slow to display” issue when showing application thumbnails on high DPI monitors.
  • Fixed a permission issue on a user’s class Registry keys that could prevent users from “opening files, links, and applications”.
  • Fixed a Photos app tile issue that made it appear larger than it should be.
  • Fixed an issue that made the system stop responding on the sign in screen.
  • Fixed a Windows Hello for Business issue that made it fail to show the default sign-in options.
  • Fixed a Windows Search option that caused it to close unexpected.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the correct DHCP information from being retrieved.
  • Fixed a diagnostic data processing issue.
  • Fixed an opening issue that affected Internet Explorer.
  • Improved the reliability of UE-V AppMonitor.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Microsoft AppLocker to prevent applications from running or log false positives.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Direct Access servers to use a large amount of non-paged pool memory.
  • Fixed an AppContainer firewall rules leak.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Windows Update Unified Write Filter servicing mode from working with Windows Server Update Services servers.
  • Fixed an issue that consumed all TCP dynamic ports.
  • Fixed an issue with NetQueryDisplayInformation API or the WinNT provider equivalent.
  • Fixed an issue that disrupted window ordering.
  • Improves access control list checks for Known Folders.
  • Fixed an issue with evaluating the compatibility status of the “Windows ecosystem”.
  • Fixed an issue with Autopilot self-deploying mode.
  • Addressed an issue in which the pszTargetName parameter was set incorrectly in the InitializeSecurityContext() API.
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain core interface elements — Start menu, Cortana Search, Tray icons, Microsoft Edge — to stop responding after installing monthly updates.

Microsoft lists no known issues at this point. We recommend that the update is not installed at this point unless one of the issues is experienced.

Now you: did you install the update?

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New Microsoft Edge gets Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) protection

The latest version of Microsoft’s upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser includes options to enable protection against Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).

The feature blocks downloads of software programs that Microsoft Defender SmartScreen identified as potentially problematic.

Microsoft introduced a new protective feature in Windows Defender in August 2018 that would detect and block potentially unwanted programs on the system the security feature was enabled on.

PUAs include various types of software bundling, programs that inject advertisement into the browser or system, and “optimizer” programs that detect (mostly) superfluous issues on the system in an attempt to sell a premium version of the program.

microsoft edge new pua

The option in the new Microsoft Edge web browser works similarly. Microsoft added it as an experimental flag to the most recent Chrome Canary version; it is unclear at this point if the option will become available in the Settings directly in the first Stable version of Microsoft Edge and whether it will be enabled.

Here is what you need to do right now to enable it:

  1. Make sure you run the latest Microsoft Edge Canary version
  2. Load edge://flags in the web browser’s address bar.
  3. Search for SmartScreen.
  4. Locate the “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen PUA support” flag on the page.
  5. Set it to enabled.
  6. Restart the web browser.

Enable PUA protection in Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge chromium pua protection

Now that the flag is enabled, it is necessary to enable the protection in Microsoft Edge. The flag unlocks the feature but it is still disabled by default.

  1. Load edge://settings/private in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Scroll all the way down on the page to the Services group.
  3. Locate the option “Block potentially unwanted apps”.
  4. Toggle the feature to enable it.

Microsoft created a sample site and application to test the protective feature. Just visit the PUA page and click on the link under Scenario to run a test. The download of the application should be blocked on the system

Closing words

It is unclear at this point whether it is really necessary to enable PUA protection in Microsoft Edge if PUA protection in Windows Defender is enabled. A quick test had the sample application flagged in older versions of the new Microsoft Edge as well on a system with Windows Defender PUA protection enabled.

PUA protection is not enabled by default in Windows Defender, however. Another explanation for this is that the new Edge is also available for other operating systems. Microsoft lists the Mac version as compatible for that particular flag.

There is always the chance that legitimate applications get flagged as PUAs, and that is the main reason why I prefer to keep the protective feature turned off. It may be useful to protect inexperienced computer users who would fall for these programs, however.

Now you:  What is your take on PUA and PUP protections in browsers and security programs? (via Deskmodder)

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Windows 10 version 1903: list of known issues growth, and growth, and growth

If you have followed the development of the Windows 10 version 1809 and 1903, you know that both versions were plagued by lots of bugs. Microsoft had to pull version 1809 even shortly after release and spend six weeks fixing issues before it released an updated version again to the public.

With Windows 10 1903, it appears that every update that Microsoft releases adds to the growing list of known issues. We keep track of those issues here and Microsoft does the same on its Docs website; the latter is an improvement over previous releases as it is now easier to keep track of all the bugs.

Microsoft released the September 2019 security updates for all supported versions of Windows last week. The update for Windows 10 version 1903 fixed a high CPU usage issue caused by Search/Cortana that some users experienced on their devices. The fix resolved the issue but it did introduce a number of new issues at the same time.

windows 10 version 1903 issues

We talked about the Start Menu and Desktop Search issues that some users experienced after update installation; turns out, that is just one of the issues that the new update introduced.

Microsoft lists three additional issues that users may experience when they install the latest update for Windows 10 version 1903:

Issue 1: Audio volume may be quiet in games or different than expected

Microsoft notes that it has received reports from customers that audio is quieter than expected in certain computer games. The company implemented an audio related change in the new update for the operating system that “enabled certain games to query support and render multi-channel audio”.

Microsoft plans to revert the change because “some games and some devices are not rendering multi-channel audio as expected” which causes them to sound different and may have missing channels.

Workaround: Microsoft suggests to disable multi-channel audio in the game settings of affected games if the option is available. Alternatively, customers may open the Windows Control Panel and disable multi-channel audio or virtual surround sound for these games if the options are available (means if the manufacturer added a Control Panel item).

Issue 2:  Wi-Fi connections become unavailable for certain hardware configurations

The issue affects NEC devices with Intel Centrino 6205/6235 and Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi card hardware. Wi-Fi connectivity is unavailable when these devices are upgraded to Windows 10 version 1903.

Microsoft notes that the Wi-Fi driver may have a yellow exclamation point in the Device Manager (open using Windows-X menu), the network icon in the System Tray area may show the “No Internet” icon, and the Network & Internet settings may show no available WiFi networks.

Workaround: Microsoft blocks updates to Windows 10 version 1903 on affected devices. Microsoft notes that customers who run affected NEC devices on Windows 10 version 1903 already may mitigate the issue by disabling and re-enabling the Wi-Fi adapter in the device manager. Wi-Fi connectivity is restored for the session in that case.

Issue 3: Chinese IME (Input Method Editor) may cause high CPU usage

Chinese IME (maybe other IME as well) may become unresponsive or cause high CPU usage on systems running Windows 10 version 1903. Microsoft notes that the issue affects CHS (Chinese Simplified) and CHT (Chinese Traditional) with Changjie/Quick keyboard.

Workaround: The following steps mitigate the issue according to Microsoft:

  1. Select Start
  2. Type services.msc and hit the Enter-key.
  3. Locate the service Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service and double-click on it or long-press on it and select Properties.
  4. Locate startup type and change it to manual.
  5. Selet ok.

Closing Words

What is going on at Microsoft? The list of known issues increases and release quality seems to deteriorate with every update the company puts out.

Now You: What is your take on the whole situation?

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Malwarebytes Browser Guard for Firefox and Chrome leaves Beta

Malwarebytes launched a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox in early 2018 that it called Malwarebytes for Chrome and Malwarebytes for Firefox initially. The company changed the name to Malwarebytes Browser Extension later on, and announced on September 1, 2019 that it launched the first stable version of the extension.

Going forward, that extension is known as Malwarebytes Browser Guard. The extension is available for Chrome only currently as the Firefox extension was pulled by Malwarebytes because of a few issues that needed fixing.

Tip: Malwarebytes launched the first beta of Malwarebytes 4 recently.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard

malwarebytes browser control

Malwarebytes Browser Guard is available on the Chrome Web Store. It should work in most Chromium-based web browsers and not just Google Chrome. The extension adds an icon to the browser’s toolbar that indicates the number of elements found on the active page. A click on the icon opens the management interface that lists the enabled protection types and the elements found on the page.

Browser Guard protects against four core types of threats: ads & trackers, malware, scams, and potentially unwanted programs. Blocked elements are listed in the interface but there are not any options to interact with them, e.g. whitelist individual items, in any way. It appears that only ad networks and trackers that got blocked are listed there; the statistics showed blocked malware during tests but no information was provided where the malware was found and what it was.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard users may disable some or all of the protection types on select websites. Just use the toggle to set protections to on or off while on the active site. Options to turn specific protections off for all sites are found in the Settings.

malwarebytes browser guard options

The Settings page is bare-bones; besides toggling protections for all sites, there is only one other option to pause and resume the extension.

A Statistics page lists how many items of each type were blocked in the past 30 days by default. You may change the date range.

The extension may display an intermediary page if a site itself is identified as malicious by the extension; this would be the case for known phishing or ransomware websites.

Closing Words

Malwarebytes Browser Guard is a protective browser extension that blocks certain types of outright malicious content and content that may be unwanted. I did not run into any issues using the extension and the ad-blocking part worked fairly well during initial tests.

One of the issues here is that the extension offers no controls other than toggling a protection entirely for a site or globally, another that the extension does not provide a whole lot of information. It is also unclear why the extension needs the ” Communicate with cooperating websites” permission and what the cooperation with msn.com entails.

The extension has a larger memory footprint than uBlock Origin; it was about 50% larger during tests.

Malwarebytes users who trust company products already may be the most suitable candidates for installation of the browser extension. The extensions extend the functionality of Malwarebytes offerings.

Now You: What is your take on Browser Guard? (via Techdows)

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