Microsoft Patch Tuesday, January 2021

Microsoft today released updates to plug more than 80 security holes in its Windows operating systems and other software, including one that is actively being exploited and another which was disclosed prior to today. Ten of the flaws earned Microsoft’s most-dire “critical” rating, meaning they could be exploited by malware or miscreants to seize remote control over unpatched systems with little or no interaction from Windows users.

Most concerning of this month’s batch is probably a critical bug (CVE-2021-1647) in Microsoft’s default anti-malware suite — Windows Defender — that is seeing active exploitation. Microsoft recently stopped providing a great deal of detail in their vulnerability advisories, so it’s not entirely clear how this is being exploited.

Fortunately, this bug is probably already patched by Microsoft on end-user systems, as the company continuously updates Defender outside of the normal monthly patch cycle.

CVE-2020-1660 is actually just one of five bugs in a core Microsoft service called Remote Procedure Call (RPC), which is responsible for a lot of heavy lifting in Windows. Some of the more memorable computer worms of the last decade spread automatically by exploiting RPC vulnerabilities.

The remaining 70 or so flaws patched this month earned Microsoft’s less-dire “important” ratings, which is not to say they’re much less of a security concern. Case in point: CVE-2021-1709, which is an “elevation of privilege” flaw in Windows 8 through 10 and Windows Server 2008 through 2019.

How to manually check for Updates in Windows 10

Open Start Menu and click on SettingsUpdate & Security settings

Here, press on the Check for updates button.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, January 2021

If any updates are available, they will be offered to you.

If Windows Update says that your PC is up to date, it means that you have all the updates that are currently available for your system.

If you are looking for details on the latest updates, click on the Details link. More details about the updates will then be shown to you.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, January 2021

If you need more information about the updates, click on the Learn more link. Every update comes with a KB number. Here for example you can see update KB3103688 being offered. You could search on your favorite search engine using this KB number. Relevant results about the update are sure to be offered.

You can make your Windows 10 receive updates for other Microsoft products and software, like Office, when you update Windows.