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Windows Help update stars in MS Patch Tuesday

3 critical, 1 important address 2 zero-days

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Microsoft plans to fix a Windows Help and Support Center vulnerability as part of next week's Patch Tuesday update batch.

The flaw, which has been the target of hacking attacks over recent weeks, was disclosed to Microsoft's displeasure by Google engineer Tavis Ormandy last month, in a move to renew the age old debate about responsible disclosure of security flaws.

The critical Windows Help fix is one of a planned release of four updates, three of which earn Microsoft's most severe security rating. A second critical update covers a zero-day flaw in the AERO display driver component of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, which was first publicised back in May.

The two other bulletins - one ranked critical and the other important - cover security vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at Qualys, notes that July marks an important milestone in Microsoft security support, with the termination of patches and updates for Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000.

"Windows XP SP2 users are advised to upgrade to SP3, which will be supported throughout 2014," Kandek said. "Windows 2000 users need to upgrade to a different version of the operating system altogether, as the entire Windows 2000 line is discontinued."

Microsoft's pre-alert notice can be found here. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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