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Windows Update glitches derail Patch Tuesday

Ten fixes, six critical, await triage

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Microsoft published 10 patches as part of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle yesterday, but many users are experiencing problems getting hold of the software updates because of delays involving Microsoft's Windows Update delivery mechanism.

Users looking for immediate protection are advised to download the updates directly from Microsoft's website. Redmond published six critical patches this month covering Windows Shell, PowerPoint, Excel, Word, XML Core Services, and Office. All six allow an attacker to craft a web page or file that allows remote code execution, according to patch management firm Patchlink.

Most immediate concern will focus on a fix for a WebFolderView ActiveX security bug affecting IE (MS06-057), which has already been actively exploited by hackers.

Fixes for a series of four critical bugs in PowerPoint (MS06-058) and coding flaws in Microsoft's implementation of XML (MS06-061) are also high on the danger list.

Microsoft's overview of the various patches it released this month can be found here. Its explanation of Windows Update glitches can be found here. Fixing this SNAFU has to be a high priority for Microsoft and doubtless Redmond's hard working, much put-upon security gnomes will be denied access to fresh air and natural sunlight until the problem is put right.

After this month, Microsoft is dropping patching support for Windows XP Service Pack 1. November also marks the last patch cycle that Server Update Services (SUS) will be supported. SUS users should consider upgrading to Windows Server Update Services, the SANS Institute advises.

SANS's Incident Storm Centre has again produced a useful overview that'll help sys admins prioritse patching work. ®

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