Microsoft Readies One Critical Fix For Patch Tuesday

said Thursday it will

While the number of bulletins is relatively small, the most serious fix will require a reboot of systems receiving the patch. The fix affects Windows XP Service Pack 3 and all versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. "This means the critical bulletin will affect all organizations and consumers," Marcus Carey, security researcher for Rapid7, said in an e-mailed statement.

Overall, this month's Patch Tuesday, which falls on the second Tuesday of every month, will include the one critical fix, plus four rated important and one moderate. "While six bulletins represent a light load of patches, this Tuesday will be disruptive in terms of required reboots," Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst, for Lumension, commented in an e-mail.

The most serious patch plugs a hole that a hacker could exploit to run code remotely on an infected system. Because it requires a reboot, the vulnerability is likely at the kernel level, according to Carey. Two important bulletins also affect the Windows family. The moderate patch only affects versions of the operating system after Windows 2003 Server and Vista.

The remaining bulletins affect Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Design, a graphics editor that competes with Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator. The Visual Studio vulnerability can result in privilege escalation, while the other would allow a hacker to run a malicious app remotely on an infected PC. The Visual Studio versions affected include VS 2008 Service Pack 1, VS 2010 and VS 2010 Service Pack 1.

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Last month, Microsoft released nine bulletins, with the most serious affecting Windows, Internet Explorer and the Silverlight media player.