Microsoft is to issue four critical security fixes for this month's Patch Tuesday. Three of these affect either Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 7, which the software maker holds out as a paragon of its conversion to secure computing. In all, Microsoft will push six high-priority updates this Tuesday, the company announced today.
Of the four critical patches, two plug holes in Vista and earlier versions of the operating system, Microsoft said in an advisory. A third patch will fix a vulnerability in IE 7 and its predecessors while the fourth concerns Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2.
Two additional patches, one in Visio 2002 and Visio 2003 and the other in Vista, are rated important and moderate respectively.
Today's advisory is the first to implement a change Microsoft is making in the way it communicates plans for high-priority updates. Under the change, the software maker will issue a bulletin on the first Thursday of each month that gives some details about the updates planned for the following Tuesday. The additional information is designed to better help administrators prepare for the deployment and testing of the updates.
The Thursday dispatches disclose only the number of patches to be issued and the impact of the flaw, so there's no way to tally the number of vulnerabilities that will be fixed. ®