There are various headlines this weeks regarding Microsoft’s release of new ‘critical’ updates for Windows, Office, and other products. In all, there appear to be patches for 20 different vulnerabilities. Although all but one of the patches are already included in XP Service Pack 2, the one that’s not covers multiple security issues with Internet Explorer.
The most severe vulnerability being fixed is an exploit that would allow an attacker to take complete control over the affected machine, allowing them to remotely run programs — most likely turning the system into a zombie for sending spam or for participating in Distributed Denial of Service attacks on other systems.
Regardless of the version of Microsoft Windows you use, if you haven’t done so in the last couple of days, you should run Windows Update today and at least install the Critical updates. Microsoft has committed to publish updates once a month, but I would recommend you check for updates every week, or turn on Automatic Updates.