[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 10:30 GMT
Microsoft fixes 20 security holes
Dancers unveil Windows Vista logo, AFP/Getty
None of the patches are for Windows Vista

Windows users are being urged to install Microsoft's February security update which contains 12 patches for 20 vulnerabilities.

The bumper package includes fixes for loopholes that malicious hackers are known to be already exploiting.

Another vulnerability is in the program Microsoft designed to spot viruses and spyware that has infected PCs.

Half of the patches in the update have been rated as critical; criminals exploiting these could take over a PC.

Hijack trick

The fixes were issued as part of Microsoft's regular monthly security update that falls on the second Tuesday of every month.

Loopholes in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer and Microsoft's Malware Protection Engine are closed by the updates in the patch. Versions of these programs used on Windows 2000 and XP could have these loopholes.

Users worried that they are at risk are being encouraged to check information about which programs are vulnerable via Microsoft's security site.

Some of the loopholes, particularly those in Word, have been actively exploited by malicious hackers for several weeks.

Many Windows XP owners are likely to get the patches automatically, but any user can download the patches from the Windows Update site.

The "critical" rating usually means that a cyber criminal exploiting such a vulnerability could take over a PC via a booby-trapped webpage or by tricking a user into opening an attachment on an e-mail.

None of the patches affected Vista - the newest version of the Windows operating system which was released on 30 January.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A run through of Vista's security features.



SEE ALSO
Vista security claim challenged
31 Jan 07 |  Technology
Microsoft promises Vista security
10 Oct 06 |  Technology
Windows 'fails' active virus test
06 Feb 07 |  Technology
Vista has speech recognition hole
01 Feb 07 |  Technology
Criminals 'may overwhelm the web'
25 Jan 07 |  Business
Triple threat targets Word users
20 Dec 06 |  Technology
Tips to help you stay safe online
07 Oct 06 |  Technology

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific