Microsoft is planning to release six patches next week in its monthly Patch Tuesday security update, covering 12 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer (IE).
The company has rated three of the six patches as 'critical', the highest alert level, while the other three have been rated as 'important'. Five address vulnerabilities which could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on a targeted system.
Among the three 'critical' updates is a fix for the much-publicised IE zero-day flaw. Microsoft acknowledged that the flaw is its top priority, and will be addressed in the upcoming fix.
Other vulnerabilities include flaws in Microsoft Word, Project and Works 8.5, as well as Windows 2000, XP, Vista and the recently launched Windows 7. Aside from the IE vulnerability, none of the 'critical' patches concerns Windows 7, while Vista has only one 'important' patch aside from the IE fix.
Notice for the December patches comes just days after Microsoft tied up loose ends with its November security release. The company concluded an investigation into reports of system crashes, and found that the November release was not responsible for the widely reported 'black screen of death' errors.
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More than 800,000 home users could be affected