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Microsoft plans to deliver seven bulletins next week, four critical, and three important, as part of the March edition of its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle.

The most troublesome of the critical vulnerabilities carries a remote code execution risk and affects every version of Windows - from XP SP3 up to Windows 8 and Windows RT as well as all versions of Internet Explorer.

A second critical update addresses critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft Silverlight both on Windows and Mac OS X. Silverlight is widely used as an alternative to Flash, in particular to run media applications, for example Netflix.

Third on the critical list is a vulnerability in Visio and the Microsoft Office Filter Pack.

The final critical update covers a privilege elevation flaw in SharePoint, Microsoft's portal and content management enterprise server software.

The practical upshot is that ALL versions of Windows, some Office components and many consumer Mac OS X installations and more will need updating because of a myriad of security flaws.

The "important" bulletins cover an update to Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 and 2011 as well as an elevation of privilege security bug in Windows that affects XP SP3 up to Windows 8.

Last, and probably least, comes at "important" update for OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking software. Microsoft's pre-release advisory is here.

In related news, the ZDI’s Pwn2Own competition at CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver led to the discovery of all manner of new vulnerabilities in browser platforms (IE, Chrome and Firefox), Java and Adobe apps. This is likely to produce plenty of patching action over upcoming weeks, especially if past form is any guide.

Commentary on all this and more can be found in a blog post by Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, here. ®

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