Patch Tuesday, the monthly security patch tradition, has reached its 20th anniversary now, after its initial release in November 2003 by Microsoft. The concept of monthly security patch updates for operating systems was sparked by Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo, written in early 2002 to address the rising security vulnerability issues on Windows (at that time).
After Gates’ memo, the internal team at Microsoft became more focused on security concerns and initiated numerous improvement projects. One of these projects involved combining multiple patches into a single release every month, making management easier. These patches were then distributed through well-defined processes known as Windows Update and Microsoft Update services.
In addition to these measures, Microsoft also introduced several cyber threat prevention tools, such as User Account Control (UAC), Windows Defender, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), Secure Boot, Windows Hello, and Windows Update for Business.
Microsoft emphasizes that it follows four core principles in its monthly update releases:
1. Predictability: Patch Tuesday can be anticipated as the second Tuesday of every month.
2. Simplicity: Updates are designed to be user-friendly, suitable for both regular users and large-scale organizational administrators.
3. Agility: Updates are delivered promptly to address new threats while ensuring quality.
4. Transparency: Clear explanations are provided regarding the purpose of each patch. Tools are available to provide relevant information for accurate assessment.
TLDR: Patch Tuesday, the monthly security patch release, has been a tradition for 20 years. Microsoft’s focus on security was intensified after Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo in 2002. Microsoft consolidates patches into monthly releases, and also offers various security tools. The company follows predictability, simplicity, agility, and transparency principles in its patch releases.