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Microsoft issues solitary patch

All quiet on the security front

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Microsoft's patch Tuesday brought just one security update yesterday, a fix for a script injection vulnerability rated by Microsoft as "important". The vulnerability in the Web view component of Windows Explorer (MS05-24) affects Windows 2000, Win 98 and Me users1 but Win XP punters are off the hook. The solitary security bulletin this month compares to eight patches - five critical - in April. Then again, Microsoft has other projects on the go this month.

The security elves at Redmond also dispatched two early alerts on Tuesday as part of a new pilot program, Microsoft Security Advisories. The scheme, introduced this month, is Microsoft's way of giving security advice about risks to its software that may or may not later become the subject of security patches.

There's two of these alerts this month. One advises that the default setting in Windows Media Player digital rights management could allow a user to open a web page without requesting permission, a trick that has already been used by virus writers.

The second advisory explains that the tar pit feature in Windows Server 2003 SP1 is an option for fighting spammers only and not a recommended function that all users ought to apply.

Microsoft hopes to solicit customer feedback on its new pilot Security Advisories via a "Contact Us" feature in its dispatches. It has also launched an online survey canvassing opinions from punters about its wider security bulletin programme. ®

1 Microsoft only issues patches for unsupported product - such as Win 98 and Win Me - when they hit critical status, so users running these older OSes are on their own in dealing with this month's latest Windows security threat.

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