Windows update introduces VPN issue, forcing admins to pick between security or functionality


Windows 11 Update Windowsupdate Estimate New DarkSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

In case you missed it, January 2022’s Patch Tuesday came and went, bringing with it fresh updates for Windows 11 and Windows 10. But while the updates helped alleviate Windows of numerous vulnerabilities, they’ve also had the unforeseen consequence of borking some PC users’ VPN connections.

Windows admins over on Reddit are reporting the issue affects SonicWall and WatchGuard connections, among others (via BleepingComputer). The message users get hit with when attempting connections reads “the L2TP connection attempt failed because the security layer encountered a processing error during initial negotiations with the remote computer.”

It’s worth noting this unintended side effect of Patch Tuesday isn’t affecting all VPN users. Rather, it’s seeming to hit those using Windows’ built-in VPN client.

The fix, for the time being, is straightforward, though it doesn’t come from Microsoft. It’s the simple strategy of uninstalling KB5009543 and KB5008876 and living without their security updates until patches come along that don’t mess with VPN connections. You can uninstall the updates with an elevated command prompt. There’s also a PowerShell method.

Some users are reporting issues with uninstalling the updates, saying Windows won’t let them or that the updates are automatically reapplied after they’re initially uninstalled.

For those who’ve yet to download the cumulative updates but fear for their VPN connections’ stability, the question boils down to whether you want to live without the cumulative updates’ numerous vulnerability fixes until Microsoft takes official action.


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