Apple, Microsoft Release Software Patches
Apple and Microsoft today released updates to fix security problems in their software, including a patch bundle for the popular QuickTime media player, as well as fixes for computers running Windows and Microsoft Office.
The QuickTime update, available for both Mac and Windows systems, mends seven security holes that Apple said could let attackers install malicious programs if a user opened specially crafted media files. The newest version is QuickTime 7.1.3, and it is available at this link.
Microsoft issued two patches to fix flaws in Windows, one of which the company said could let bad guys hijack vulnerable PCs. The more serious of the two affects Windows XP systems. Another patch corrects a critical flaw in Microsoft Publisher. If you use a Windows system and do not have your machine set to fetch Windows updates on its own via Automatic Updates, point Internet Explorer over to Microsoft Update to download and install these updates.
Microsoft also re-released two patches that it issued in August, including the Internet Explorer update that caused problems for some people running IE on Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems that do not have Service Pack 2 installed. In addition, it re-issued another patch that was creating glitches for some users of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional 64-Bit systems.
Microsoft pushed out an advisory on an important update for Adobe's Flash Player program, which is installed by default on millions of PCs running Windows. In May, Microsoft pushed out a Flash update to fix a couple of serious security holes in prior versions of Flash, a version of which ships with all Windows XP systems. Today, Redmond called attention to an Adobe update that mends three newly disclosed flaws in Flash Player version 188.8.131.52. The newest version -- v. 184.108.40.206 -- fixes those problems and is available from Adobe's site.
To see which version of Flash you have installed, go to this link on Macromedia's site. If you run Flash on your machine, try not to put off updating: Vulnerability watcher Secunia rated the Flash flaws "highly critical," as they could be exploited just by convincing a user to visit a malicious Web site.
Finally, I mentioned last week that Microsoft was going to issue a couple of high-priority, non-security related updates for Windows. When I scanned my Windows XP machine at Microsoft Update, it presented me with two non-security updates, including one to fix what Microsoft says is an audio problem that could cause stability issues for Windows XP users. The other one addresses errors that some Windows users have been seeing when trying to download updates via Microsoft Update, Windows Update, and Automatic Updates.
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