Every second Tuesday of every month Microsoft releases patches of its products on Windows. This day has come to be known as ‘Patch Tuesday’. And this upcoming Patch Tuesday is going to be one you don’t want to miss.
In total, this Tuesday (February 12) will see twelve patches being released that address a total of 57 vulnerabilities across various different Microsoft software, including Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, .NET Framework, and Windows itself. There are updates for each version of Windows since XP — Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Server 2008 RT, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows RT — so don’t skip out thinking this isn’t for your version of Windows.
Of these twelve patches, Microsoft is considering five of them to be ‘critical’ so you want to make sure to install at least those five if you don’t have the bandwidth or internet speed to download all twelve.
Probably the most notable of vulnerabilities that is being patched this Tuesday relates to Internet Explorer 6 – 10. According to Microsoft, there is currently a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 that makes users susceptible to drive-by attacks. In other words, anyone running Internet Explorer 6 – 10 can be infected by malware by simply visiting an infected website — you don’t even have to download anything.
The patches will go live 1:00PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday. If you have Windows Update set to automatically download and install updates, there is nothing for you to worry about except restarting your computer when prompted; if you have Windows Update set to automatically download but not install updates, you will have to manually initiate the install of the patches yourself; and if you have Windows Update to not automatically do anything, you will want to make sure to manually run Windows Update and at least download the five critical patches, if not all twelve.