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Five critical reasons to update Windows today

Patch Tuesday puts sysadmins on overtime

Windows Vista teaser

Microsoft has released six bulletins, five covering critical vulnerabilities, as part of its latest Patch Tuesday update.

The critical list includes flaws in Universal Plug and Play, Windows CSRSS, Microsoft Agent and Microsoft Content Management Server that create a means for hackers to inject code into vulnerable systems.

The security update follows last week's patch (MS07-017) for the ANI vulnerability, which Microsoft released early amidst reports of widespread hacking attacks targeting the flaw. Redmond also pushed out a hot-fix for this top priority patch designed to resolve conflicts with other applications. There's also an "important" patch designed to address a vulnerability in Windows Kernel that might allow privilege elevation.

Security vendors said Microsoft had done the right thing in releasing patches early, despite the application glitch problems. Alan Bentley, managing director of PatchLink EMEA, said: "Microsoft is becoming more adept at dealing with vulnerabilities by releasing key ones early, even when they are only a week before. It is also an indication that Microsoft is listening to its customers and responding to them rather than sticking to its own agenda."

Both the ANI vulnerability and CSRSS patch affect Windows Vista as well as other Windows operating systems, Bentley notes.

"Organisations need to take notice that although Vista is more secure, it is certainly not immune from vulnerabilities. PatchLink recommends that organisations prioritise deploying the Vista-related patches ASAP," he said.

"Since all five critical patches are for remote code execution, which is oftentimes a vehicle for botnets and other targeted attacks, it is essential that organisations remediate these vulnerabilities quickly."

Users are advised to update systems promptly. There's more information in Microsoft's security bulletin summary here and an advisory by security clearing house US CERT here. ®

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