Microsoft blames malware for XP patch woes

Investigations into why Microsoft Windows XP machines crashed on Patch Tuesday may have found the answer in malware form.

Blue Screen of Death malware

A flaw in a recent Microsoft security patch that lead to XP users experiencing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death seems to have been down to malicious rootkit software.

The 13 bulletins released on Tuesday last week left Microsoft forums flooded with users whose systems had crashed after installing the updates, giving the Microsoft security team a lot of extra work to do.

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This weekend they confirmed that a well hidden rootkit malware that disguises the fact a computer's operating system has been compromised could be the cause of the troubles.

On the Microsoft Security Response Centre blog, Jerry Bryant, senior security communications manager lead, said: "In our continuing investigation in to the restart issues related to MS10-015 that a limited number of customers are experiencing, we have determined that malware on the system can cause the behaviour."

He added: "We are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time and are still investigating."

The patch was already under scrutiny for not addressing a newly discovered flaw in Internet Explorer which added to the long list of woes the older versions of the browser had faced in the past few weeks.

However, Microsoft defended the decision saying there was a "fix it" available and advised users that they should upgrade to the latest versions anyway.

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