Microsoft has released 14 security patches for Windows including a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer and a patch for 19-year-old vulnerability.

The IE update protects against a flaw that would allow a scammer to lure users to webpage and execute code that permits them to take over your computer.  In all, 17 issues in Internet Explorer are handled by this update.  All versions of Internet Explorer are affected. (There is no patch for IE 8, which is no longer supported.)

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Another of the patches MS14-066 takes car of a vulnerability that could allow attackers to take over servers – which could be a disaster for businesses.

Also addressed is a flaw that allows hackers to get at you system through PowerPoint. 

All of these vulnerabilities have one thing n common: An attacker can find a way to take over your computer and execute malicious code. Sometimes they sneak in on the backs on innocent-looking files like PowerPoint presentations, sometimes ads containing malware lure you to websites.

Also important on that list is that Microsoft has released a new version of the Flash Player integrated into Internet Explorer that takes care of some security issues with that plug-in.

 

These issues affect Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and many of the patches are critical. They could also be a problem for Windows XP, but since Microsoft is no longer offering security support for XP, no patches are coming for the operating system.

One vulnerability, discovered by IBM, affects every Windows operating system since Windows 95. It’s a flaw in VBSScript that could allow attackers to install keyloggers and screen grabbers on your computer and monitor your every move. This issue went undetected for nearly 20 years. And if you’re running XP, there’s no fix.

What’s even more troubling for XP users is that hackers can look at the patches for the other Windows operating systems and possibly backwards engineer even more attacks against Windows XP.  If you’re using an XP system, it’s safer to keep it offline.

If your PC is set for automatic updates, the patches should be pushed to you by Microsoft. Otherwise, go to the Windows Update Center on your PC to install the necessary patches.

To learn more about installing an update in Windows 7, click here. 

To learn how to install updates in Windows 8 and 8.1 click here.

~ Cynthia