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12 Jan 2005

Microsoft warns of critical Windows security flaws. Sophos urges users to patch now

Microsoft has described some of the vulnerabilities as critical
Microsoft has described some of the vulnerabilities as critical

Experts at Sophos have urged companies and home users to act quickly as Microsoft has released information about a number of security flaws in the Windows operating system. Two of the advisories are labelled "critical", Microsoft's highest severity level, and could leave user's computers vulnerable to attack.

"All businesses who use Microsoft software need to get into the habit of regularly applying security patches, or they will be leaving themselves open to attack," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "In the past hackers and virus writers have exploited vulnerabilities to break into internet-connected computers, so people should strongly consider patching now rather than waiting."

Microsoft has posted details of the vulnerabilities and made available updates which are reported to fix the issues on its website.

"Home users are particularly open to attack, because they have often not downloaded the latest security patches from Microsoft, and may not be running up-to-date anti-virus software or a personal firewall," continued Cluley. "It's essential that all computer users should ensure their systems are properly defended."

Home users of Microsoft Windows can visit windowsupdate.microsoft.com to have their systems scanned for critical Microsoft security vulnerabilities.

Sophos recommends that every IT manager responsible for security should consider subscribing to vulnerability mailing lists such as that operated by Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/notify.mspx.

Sophos continues to recommend computer users practise safe computing as well as running up-to-date anti-virus software.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.