Microsoft’s May security patches are breaking antivirus software

Another month, another Microsoft patch SNAFU as Microsoft’s May 2019 security patches have caused issues for users of McAfee, Sophos, Avast, Avira and other antivirus software.

The firm pushed their patches today, patch Tuesday, and problems immediately made themselves known, with affected users experiencing machines that locked up when boot, or even freezing during use for users on Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 networks.

It it seems familiar, this is a similar issue to the one Windows users experienced with April’s update and, like this one, it seems like affect people seemingly randomly, although anecdotal evidence seems to suggest enterprise-level customers are some of the worst affected.

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McAfee has addressed the issue directly, adding: “Microsoft and McAfee have identified an issue on devices with McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) Threat Prevention 10.x or McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention (Host IPS) 8.0 or McAfee VirusScan Enterprise (VSE) 8.8 installed. It may cause the system to have slow startup or become unresponsive at restart after installing this update.”

Getting around this sort of thing can often be achieved, although we haven’t tested it ourselves, by starting in safe mode and either rolling back the update or deactivating your antivirus software. However, neither of these options is ideal and both could present potential security risks.

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Another odd report from the patches is that users are having trouble accessing UK government sites, which perhaps says more about the security certificates and protocols on the governments sites in this case.

The May 2019 security update for Windows 10 is imminent. The release of Build 1809 caused multiple issues, so Microsoft will be hoping for a smooth launch. For those affected by this Windows 7 problem, a patch for the patch has already been put in place, but it doesn’t seem to have fixed all of the issues. The patch for the patch patch should do better, when it arrives. 

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