Serious flaw found in NT Service Pack 6

It's supposed to fix bugs, not create them, but SP6 could wreak Notes havoc

A potentially very serious bug in Windows NT Service Pack 6 (SP6), which is meant to repair existing problems with the operating system, surfaced Monday.

The flaw means that users will be denied access to Lotus Notes on NT unless they have been granted administrative access to the network. This opens up the potentially disastrous possibility that network administrators could grant users root access to a network in order to give them access to important databases and email facilities, which could result in catastrophic security breaches or errors in network configuration.

Lotus has reportedly advised customers using Notes not to install SP6 until Microsoft has issued a fix for the current problem.

Microsoft has acknowledged that the problem exists and claims to have uncovered the cause of the flaw early Tuesday morning. "Microsoft has identified a problem with Service Pack 6 for Windows NT 4.0 that affects Lotus Notes and some Winsock applications," says a spokeswoman. "Customers using these applications should not download SP6 at this time, since Microsoft will release a Hotfix for this issue early next week."

This spokeswoman also disputes whether this represents such an unacceptable error after all and claims that the stability of Windows NT should not be underestimated. "Windows NT 4.0 has never been more reliable," she adds. "Our latest data and customer feedback with SP5 proves that. SP6 also provides fixes in a wide variety of areas to increase the overall reliability of the product."