In this article we look at Web Upgrades and what role they play in the wider context of the latest attacks on the World Wide Web. In previous articles we explored the role Web Upgrades play in the context of the attack against Adobe Flash. In this article we will go a bit deeper to explore what Web Upgrades are and why they are so important for today's dynamic world. To start, Web Upgrades are firmware updates delivered via HTTP or FTP.
As described in detail in the Web Upgrade documentation it is a firmware update, which is sent to the manufacturers-partner/support organizations who create, build and maintain the hardware, operating system, libraries, drivers and other runtime components of your system (OS, browser, etc.). Web Upgrades are used to resolve security-related issues and to provide additional functionality (new features and enhancements) to your system. In many cases, users can expect to receive Web Upgrades via "pport" (short for "passive-interface"), or "wns" (short for "web proxy") service. The Web Upgrade project is led by the firmware updating community manager (Fujitsu-Siemens), with Microsoft also supporting some of the efforts.
At the time of this writing, there are only a handful of official supported Web Upgrades releases. Web Upgrades are shipped along with the manufacturer's updates and are typically sent after the user has executed the install/uninstall instructions contained within the Web Installer or downloaded and opened the Web Upgrade installer. If you are reading this article, you are probably running an unofficial Web Upgrade release, which is highly supported and regularly patched. Therefore, you probably need Web Upgrade in order to properly connect to the Internet.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers have intentionally made it difficult to get Web Upgrades, particularly for those who have been targeted by the latest Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. According to one source, it took more than a year to get the latest Web Upgrade release from Philips-Netwire for use with their Combi brand routers. The reason cited was that DDoS is still a common tool used by cyber criminals to bring down Web sites. Apparently, the company had hoped to gain some popularity by offering an alternative option, such as Combi flashed images, which could be loaded before the Web Upgrades installer ran. Obviously, no one would buy this just to avoid Web Upgrades!
After a few months, it seems that Apple finally responded to the issue by including support for Web upgrading on their factory-refurbished hardware devices. It will take a bit longer to trickle this feature out to existing hardware, especially since it requires OEM-installed drivers, but the progress is promising. In addition to Apple's support, Google is encouraging users to report any DDoS attacks they've witnessed using the Safari browser. If you happen to know a Safari user who has been hit by a Web Upgrader attack, let them know! If you do, you might be able to save someone from going through a WebUpgrade experience that they would probably not have survived otherwise.
At the end of the day, there's no need to panic if you encounter a Web Upgrade attack. Even if the upgrade software did not work on your computer before, it will likely do once you plug in the dongle into an authentic-looking port. If you're still in doubt about your ability to deal with Web Upgrade problems, please help out your fellow techies who were bitten by the Web bug by sharing your Web Upgrade experience in the comments section below. The world needs to know how to deal with Web Upgrades so that every Web site can upsell customers and increase sales without having to go through the Web Upgrade red tape. Visit this website for more details: webupgrade.com
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