Patch Your PC: 40 MS Windows Fixes Due Tuesday

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft will yet again release a gargantuan list of security bulletins for flaws found in its Windows operating system, Internet Explorer browser, and MS Office applications suite. In total, 17 security bulletins will address a mind-boggling 40 flaws and will be released this coming Tuesday, December 14th.

While this isn't the largest release to date, it is a significant number and users of all MS Windows need to patch their PCs in order to steer clear of online threats.

Remote Code Execution Threats Plague MS Windows

Thankfully, just two of the bulletins have been rated "critical," Microsoft highest security warning. These are directed at remote code-execution holes found in Windows XP through Windows 7, but also Windows Server 2003 and 2008. Internet Explorer versions 6 through 8 are also vulnerable to the critical weakness, which could allow a hacker to take control of a victim's system remotely.

The remainder of the security bulletins for December address flaws rated "important" or "moderate". These include slightly less diabolical remote code execution threats, a denial of service vulnerability, and privilege escalation issues. (Source:

Users of each version of Windows are strongly encouraged to install the update. Fixes are pretty even across the board: Windows XP receives seven updates, Vista eight, and Windows 7 also receives seven fixes.

Big Year for the Microsoft Patch

This last Patch Tuesday for 2010 marks a record-breaking year for Microsoft security bulletins. In total, the company has pushed 106 patches the last twelve months, more than any previous year.

Microsoft says the enormous number of patches has a lot to do with how long it offers support for its products. "This isn't really surprising when you think about product life cycles and the nature of vulnerability research. Microsoft supports products for up to 10 years," said company representative Mike Reavey. (Source:

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