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14 Jun 2006

Microsoft issues patches for 21 security flaws

Customers are urged to update now

Microsoft has described eight of the patches as critical
Microsoft has described eight of the patches as critical.

As part of its monthly patch distribution, Microsoft has issued one of the largest series of new security updates to address 21 vulnerabilities in a number of its software products. Eight of the 12 patches are labelled as "critical" and protect the possibility of remote code execution in Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, Windows Media Player and the Windows operating system.

Of the remaining bulletins, three address "important" vulnerabilities, while one addresses a "moderate" vulnerability.

One of the fixes is a patch for Microsoft Word, which was exploited by the Oscor-B (also known as Ginwui) Trojan horse in late May, infecting computers when a Microsoft Word document is first opened. Following news headlines of the Trojan horse many companies have been anxiously waiting for Microsoft to release a patch.

"Patching against vulnerabilities that can allow unauthorized remote access and code execution is vital to any security policy,"said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant for Sophos. "Hackers and malware authors often start working on taking advantage of these holes as soon as Microsoft discloses them. The sooner the fixes are in place, the faster businesses close the door to related attacks."

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

Sophos suggests 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 companies protect their desktops and servers with automatically updated protection against viruses, spyware, and spam.

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.