Six Windows Updates on "Black Tuesday"
Microsoft said Thursday it plans to release at least six patches (or bundles of patches, more accurately) for its various Windows operating systems next week. At least one of the patches will come with a "critical" rating, meaning Microsoft considers the security hole it mends so severe that hackers could use it to break in and take complete control over your computer.
Microsoft will issue the updates sometime Tuesday, Aug. 9. (Microsoft regularly releases patches on the second Tuesday of each month, which several security experts I know affectionately call "Black Tuesday.") You can either retrieve them by pointing your browser (this won't work in anything but Internet Explorer) to the Microsoft Update Web site, or by turning on automatic updates and letting Microsoft handle it for you.
Bear in mind that if you want to manually pull down patches from the Web site, you will need to participate in the "Windows Genuine Advantage" program. That is, you'll need to install a tool that checks to see if you're using a pirated version of Windows. You can still download security updates whether or not you pass the scan with flying colors, but if your computer fails the test, all non-security related downloads from Microsoft will be blocked.
That said, there are fairly simple browser tricks that will allow you to download patches without running the piracy scan, as hackers figured out last month. Then again, it is likely that the bundle of patches Microsoft releases on Tuesday will fix things so that this particular browser trick doesn't work any more.
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