This most recent Valentine’s Day was a day of some “tough love” for users of Microsoft Windows OS, Windows 7. While some of the fixes were for older Windows OS, most of the components of the latest patch release from the computing titan based in Redmond, Washington focused on Windows 7.
While there are many patches in the batch, Microsoft tagged four of the updates as “critical.” These are MS12-016, MS12-013, MS12-010 and MS12-008. Windows’ update advisory has given these components a “high” rating.
In a very telling move, this latest patch bundle shows fewer patches for Windows XP than later versions of Windows. This further supports Microsoft’s earlier statements to the effect that it is trying to “kill” Windows XP and will, at a future date, completely stop supporting it. Apparently, the day of reckoning has not come yet but the fewer patches for XP in this security update batch should raise red flags in the minds of erstwhile XP users. Maybe they should consider upgrading to more recent versions of Windows or perhaps try other operating systems entirely.
The patch labeled MS12-008 addresses a kernel vulnerability that might enable attackers to execute code remotely. MS12-010 is a flaw in Internet Explorer that makes it possible for attackers to run code remotely. MS12-013 fixes a remote operation vulnerability for C run-time. This vulnerability is present in Windows 7/Vista 2008. MS12-016 addresses similar remote execution security weaknesses found in .NET and Silverlight.
The other components are marked as “important” and include Visio vulnerability fixes, .icc file vulnerabilities, and Windows XP media file remote code vulnerabilities.
Antivirus firm Kaspersy Labs urges Windows users to install the updates as soon as possible since the public announcement of these vulnerabilities made these security threats public knowledge. It would not be unreasonable to suspect that hackers and other shady operators might start scanning systems for these vulnerabilities or releasing malware that target these operating system shortcomings.