It's a tough time to be a Microsoft customer: The software giant on Tuesday issued 9 software fixes for a whopping 14 bugs, 6 of which are rated as critical, Microsoft's most serious designation. Under Microsoft's software fix rating system, a critical update is one for a flaw that can give attackers control of a user's system without any user action. Microsoft rates the other 3 fixes as important.
Security experts are categorizing the release as the most important by far this year. In terms of sheer number of bug fixes, this week's collection, which constitutes Microsoft's August 2007 monthly release, is second only to the collection released in February. But the sheer breadth and scope of these flaws make this month's release far more problematic for users.
The worst flaw, perhaps, affects all pre-Vista and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) Windows versions and involves the GDI (graphics device interface) technology used to display and print graphics. GDI is a core component of older Windows versions and is used throughout those systems. Other critical flaws patched Tuesday include those in various Windows and Windows Server versions, Office and Excel, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and other desktop software. Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest OS release, was only affected by one flaw this month, and that flaw is rated as important.
Microsoft has shipped 50 software patches through its monthly release schedule so far this year, on pace with last year's 51 by this point in time.