Screenshot of the Windows Update screen with a progress bar showing 95% downloaded.

Patch Tuesday, Don’t Forget Office 365

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday is tomorrow. February’s round of patches seems to be significant. Researcher Brian Krebs has tweeted that several Microsoft offerings will be patched tomorrow. All the critical updates are for Remote Code Execution on everything from Windows 7 to Server 2016—including Office products, Internet Explorer and Edge.

Please save your work at the end of the day tomorrow. If your PC is set up to automatically download and install these patches, it will likely restart Wednesday at 3:00 am. Or, it may ask for an install or a restart when you come into work Wednesday morning.

In January, Patch Tuesday was not the end of the patching frenzy. Microsoft pushed out another two or three updates prior to this month’s Patch Tuesday. Google Chrome also had an additional update mid-cycle. Adobe’s Flash Player and AIR 28 pushed out updates on February 6th with “assorted security and functional fixes”. Java’s last update was January 16th making the most current version 8.161. Many of these additional updates were attempting to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown processor vulnerabilities.

Updating Office 365

The one advantage to Microsoft Office 365 is that it always is up to date as long as your subscription is active. However, our experience has been that it may lag behind Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday cycle without a little kick on your part to get it going. Here’s how to manually search for updates for Office 365:

  1. In any Office product, click the File tab (on the far left).
  2. Click Account
  3. Click Update Options
  4. Click Update Now on the dropdown menu

A screenshot of Word highlighting the File tab.A screenshot of Word highlighting the Account tab, Update Options dropdown menu, and Update Now selection

That’s it. A window will open stating it is currently searching for updates, and it will prompt you if any need to be installed. Generally, it will close out any open Office windows along with other programs that may sync with or export to a Microsoft product.

Please Update Responsibly

For the majority of us, Automatic Updates are in our best interests. Yes, sometimes they can cause issues. But most issues with malware could be avoided if people just kept their operating systems and individual programs up to date. With that in mind, why not take a few minutes to search through your other programs and check for updates for them as well. Most programs allow you to check for updates via the Help dropdown menu (either Check for Updates, Update, or About).

If a link to check for updates is not available, try going to the download section of that program’s website and see if the version information is available for the latest download. If it is newer than your installed version, download the updated version. Most products will allow you to keep your current settings when installing a newer version.

For further protection against malware, consider using an ad blocker.

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