Microsoft today said it will ship 14 security updates next week to patch critical vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer (IE), Windows, Office and SharePoint, its enterprise collaboration platform.

The IE update, slated to affect every supported version, from the soon-to-be-retired IE6 to the newest IE10, was at the top of most security experts' lists, including the one crafted by Andrew Storms, director of DevOps at CloudPassage.

Microsoft has patched IE every month so far this year, Storms said, the fruit of a change in July 2012, when Microsoft ditched a years-long practice of updating the browser on alternate months. The company patched IE in June, July, August and September 2012 to demonstrate its new capabilities before pausing, then returned to IE last November and December.

"I expect we'll see IE updates every month from now on," said Storms, basing his take on the 11-months-straight stretch. That would put Microsoft's patch tempo between that of its chief browser rivals, Google and Mozilla, which update their Chrome and Firefox applications several times monthly or once every six weeks, respectively.

Of the 14 updates slated to ship next Tuesday, Microsoft pegged four as critical, the company's most severe rating. The other 10 will be labeled "important," the next step down in Microsoft's four-step threat system.

;story: Computerworld