Microsoft's collective roll-out of bug fixes and security flaw closures is something of a blockbuster this month, with plenty of issues to keep IT support services and users on their toes. There are five updates in the 'critical' category to prevent remote code execution on Windows machines across Internet Explorer, VBScript, Microsoft Office and the OS itself. These exploits affect most operating systems, including Windows 7 and 8, and most versions of Windows Server.
A further nine patches are classed as 'important'. These patches prevent hackers using corrupt '.PNG' image files to take over systems, solve vulnerabilities in remote desktops, and fix issues with seemingly unobtrusive apps (like Task Scheduler and Adobe Font Manager), among other things. While the patches will auto-install on most users' machines, check with your IT support to ensure that your office's systems are up-to-date and have auto-update enabled.
The wide range of programs, services and tools that can be used to attack PCs (read this month's full list here) demonstrates the incredible complexity of PCs, Windows and the multitude of apps we use. While Microsoft does its best to keep these attacks at bay, it's important to have good technical support and train your users not to download anything that could help hackers exploit their computers.
Your IT support team can recommend improved security applications beyond the basic firewall that comes with Windows, and other programs to help scan systems for weaknesses. They can also provide tools to prevent users from inadvertently infecting PCs by downloading a dodgy app or visiting a rogue website. As an example, Google's Chrome browser now actively warns users if they are visiting a malicious site, hopefully all browsers will soon have this level of proactive security.
You'll also notice no mention of Windows XP there, now it is no longer supported by Microsoft; if you still use it, you are exposed to an ever increasing number of risks, and upgrading should be a top priority. Your IT support team can provide a safe upgrade path, maintaining all your company data and applications.
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