Patch Your PC: Next Tuesday, MS Fixes Nearly 50 Exploits

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft yesterday announced that its next monthly security update due on October 12th, popularly referred to as "Patch Tuesday," will include a record 16 Security Bulletins -- the most ever released at one time by the company.

The bulletins address a total of nearly 50 vulnerabilities.

Almost All Windows Versions Susceptible to Exploits

Of the nearly 50 vulnerabilities to be addressed this next Patch Tuesday, four have been rated 'Critical,' Microsoft's most serious designation for security threats. Another ten are marked 'Important,' the second-highest rating, and two more are considered 'Moderate'. (Source:

Just about every Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) is affected by the vulnerabilities. The list includes Windows 7, Vista, XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Why Installing The Latest Patches Are Critical

Any computer unpatched will remain vulnerable to exploits. In most cases, all that is required for a PC to become infected is to visit an infected website (in most cases, unknowingly) or open the wrong file (via an email attachment, for example) and your computer will be infected.

Once a PC is infected, your passwords can be stolen, along with your identity and financial information. That's why it's important to keep your PC up to date with the latest Windows Updates.

Critical Flaws Related to Remote Code Threats

Each of the four Critical vulnerabilities to be issued next week are related to a remote code execution threat, meaning there's a chance a hacker could remotely take control of a victim's computer once an infection is made.

At least half of the bulletins and their corresponding patches will require the user restart their system upon application.

Also receiving attention from Microsoft are its popular Office suites, including Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 and even Office 2010. The supported Mac versions (2004 and 2008) will also receive updates.

Specifically targeted Office programs include Word, Excel, SharePoint, OneNote and PowerPoint.

Year-End Push Behind Big Updates, Critic Says

As previously mentioned, this is the greatest number of security bulletins released by Microsoft in a single month, beating out the last record set two months ago (14 bulletins in August 2010).

Security expert Andrew Storms says he thinks he knows why October tends to be a big month for Microsoft patch releases:

"I have a theory about the large October updates," Storms said. "It's the year-end financial and retail push by most companies, which go into lockdown mode the last two months of the year, when they don't update their systems." (Source:

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