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08 Aug 2006

Microsoft issues critical security patches for Windows and Office

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

As part of its monthly patch distribution, Microsoft has issued a series of new security updates for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office products. Nine of the vulnerabilities addressed by the patches are categorized as critical, including a zero day flaw in Microsoft PowerPoint that has already been exploited by Chinese hackers.

The most serious vulnerabilities if left unpatched can allow hackers to remotely execute code (such as a malicious worm) on vulnerable systems.

"There's no time to waste - it is crucial that all vulnerable computers are protected with these security patches at the earliest possible opportunity. Virus writers often exploit flaws in Microsoft's software in the days immediately following an announcement of problems, and in the case of the PowerPoint flaw hackers have been taking advantage of the security hole since mid-July," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The message couldn't be clearer: Don't let the criminal underground compromise your computers. Get into the habit now of regularly applying security patches, or you will be leaving your PCs open to attack."

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

The patches include a fix for Microsoft PowerPoint that has been exploited by Chinese hackers

The patches include a fix for Microsoft PowerPoint that has been exploited by Chinese hackers.

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.