Microsoft To Issue Four Critical Patches

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Microsoft announced plans to issue four major security patches -- all deemed critical -- mending vulnerabilities in Windows scheduled for its upcoming monthly Patch Tuesday release Sept. 9.

According to Microsoft's advanced notification, posted Thursday, the patches are slated to fix errors in Windows Media Player, Windows Media Encoder, Microsoft Office and other Windows functions.

The patch labeled "Windows Bulletin" promises to be a massive update, fixing multiple Windows bugs in IE, and several operating system errors on XP and Vista as well as glitches in Microsoft .net Framework, Microsoft Office, Digital Image Suite, Visual Studio, Visual Fox Pro, Forefront Client Security, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

Two scheduled security bulletins are slated to repair vulnerabilities in Windows media tools. Both the Media Player 11 and the Media Encoder patches repair several versions of the tools on XP, Vista and Server 2008. Additionally, the Media Encoder repairs bugs in Windows Server 2003.

The final patch fixes numerous Office bugs, including Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 on and Microsoft Office OneNote.

All four security bulletins repair errors determined critical, meaning that the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to remotely install malicious code on a user's PC without any user intervention or consent. Often users will be enticed to open a malicious link or visit a harmful Web page through some type of sophisticated social engineering scheme delivered via e-mail.

The September patch load is significantly less than last month's update release, which repaired almost a dozen holes in numerous Windows and Internet Explorer applications.

Microsoft's advanced notification only provides a general overview of the security patches to come. Details of the vulnerabilities, the affected software and known exploits will be available next Tuesday with the final patch release at approximately 1 p.m., EST September 9.

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