Six critical updates for Patch Tuesday

December 9, 2008 // 1:03 p.m.

Tags: #bug #bugfix #excel #frontpage #office #patch #patch-tuesday #security #sharepoint #vista #visual-basic #windows #word #xp

Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday update cycle has a sextet of critical security updates for users this week.

According to ExtremeTech, out of the eight total updates to be released today six are considered Critical, Microsoft's highest security rating.

The first Critical update affects all currently shipping versions of Windows – including Vista on the desktop and Server 2008 in the enterprise – and plugs a hole that could, under certain circumstances, lead to remote code execution. A similar flaw has been discovered in Internet Explorer, with a second Critical patch being released to fix an issue which again affects all currently shipping versions of Windows with Internet Explorer 7 installed.

Users of the Microsoft Office suite will also want to be installing today's updates, with another Critical issue being addressed in Office 2000 and 2007 – although, strangely, Office 2003 is unaffected. If you're still using Office 2000, then you'll want a second update to fix a security hole in Excel 2000 – although the update applies to other versions of Office, the issue is rated Important on all versions except 2000.

A fix for a bug in Windows Media Player is rated Important and again affects all currently shipping versions, aside from those compiled for Intel's ill-fated Itanium architecture.

A final Critical update covers a bug in Visual Basic, including the version of the language shipped as part of FrontPage and Microsoft Project along with Visual Basic 6, Visual Basic.NET, and Visual FoxPro.

As always, the advice is to update as soon as possible – but business users may want to give the patches a thorough testing before approving them for installation enterprise-wide.

Have you experienced any issues that you think may be down to bugs patched in today's Patch Tuesday, or is Microsoft merely covering its corporate behind referring to the fixes as 'Critical'? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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