November 7th, 2014, 18:08 PM
Microsoft plans big Patch Tuesday this month with 16 bug fixes
Microsoft has a hefty batch of patches in store for this month.
Patch Tuesday, which occurs the second Tuesday of the month, is Microsoft's regular date for rolling out the latest bug fixes, patches and other updates to its software. On Tuesday, the company will launch 16 patches to shore up holes in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office.
Five of the patches are rated as critical, which means the bugs they are fixing could allow attackers to execute code from a remote location to access and take control of a computer. Microsoft describes a critical patch as follows: "A vulnerability whose exploitation could allow code execution without user interaction. These scenarios include self-propagating malware (e.g. network worms), or unavoidable common use scenarios where code execution occurs without warnings or prompts. This could mean browsing to a web page or opening email."
Basically, without the patches, you could open a malicious webpage or email attachment and infect your computer.
The five critical vulnerabilities all affect specific versions of Microsoft Windows, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Server. One of them also affects Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11.
"We are looking at a substantial Patch Tuesday from Microsoft for November," Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer of security firm Qualys, said in a statement. "Microsoft will publish 16 bulletins, with five of them allowing Remote Code Execution (RCE) -- the type of vulnerability that attackers are particularly fond of. Overall the additional 16 bulletins will bring Microsoft's count up to 79, meaning that we will finish the year under 100 vulnerabilities, which is a bit lower that in 2013 and 2011 and probably on par with 2012."
Windows users who have Automatic Updates enabled don't need to do anything manually. The updates will automatically install on Tuesday as they become available. However, some of the updates do require a restart, so you'll have to reboot your PC after they're installed.