Microsoft apparently pushed out a Windows Update a few weeks ago of which no one had been notified. There were 9 files, on both XP and Vista, pertaining to the Windows Update process which were modified. The files are listed below, and all of them reside in the Windows\System32 folder on your machine.

So why is this such a big deal? As it turns out this update was sent to all Windows computers, even those that have the automatic installation of Windows Updates disabled. There isn’t supposed to be anything harmful with the files, and it is expected that the update is needed if you want to receive further Windows Updates. But what about those people who didn’t want to receive any updates in the first place?

The reason why this concerns me is that Microsoft was able to get onto my computer and modify my system files without me even knowing. How is that supposed to make me feel safe knowing that some hacker could probably do the same thing?

Here was Microsoft’s response on the matter:

Any user who chooses to use Windows Update either expected updates to be installed or to at least be notified that updates were available.  Had we failed to update the service automatically, users would not have been able to successfully check for updates and, in turn, users would not have had updates installed automatically or received expected notifications.

Before closing, I would like to address another misconception that I have seen publicly reported. WU does not automatically update itself when Automatic Updates is turned off, this only happens when the customer is using WU to automatically install upgrades or to be notified of updates.

To see if your computer has received the updates just head on over to the Windows\System32 folder and look for one of the affected files listed below. You should see the date that the file was modified (probably around August 24th), and the version number should be 7.0.6000.381:

Silent Windows Update

In Vista, the following files are updated to version 7.0.6000.381:

  1. wuapi.dll
  2. wuapp.exe
  3. wuauclt.exe
  4. wuaueng.dll
  5. wucltux.dll
  6. wudriver.dll
  7. wups.dll
  8. wups2.dll
  9. wuwebv.dll

In XP, the following files are updated to version 7.0.6000.381:

  1. cdm.dll
  2. wuapi.dll
  3. wuauclt.exe
  4. wuaucpl.cpl
  5. wuaueng.dll
  6. wucltui.dll
  7. wups.dll
  8. wups2.dll
  9. wuweb.dll

Source: Windows Secrets [via Slashdot]