Microsoft will issue seven security updates next Tuesday, including critical sets of patches for Windows and Internet Explorer.
The three critical updates are all for Windows components, Microsoft said in a note on the upcoming release. These components include Internet Explorer, the DirectX and DirectShow graphics software, and the Windows Media Format Runtime, which is used by Windows Media Player.
The media flaws could be quickly exploited by attackers, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations with nCircle Proactive Network Security. "With the Media Format and the Direct X update, we're looking at more ways for attackers to target rich Internet multimedia formats," he said via instant message. "The likelihood of getting someone to watch a tantalizing movie is much higher than opening an attachment."
Microsoft has said that it will fix a flaw in the way certain configurations of the Windows operating system look up DNS information, telling them how to connect with other computers on the Internet. Because of a flaw in the way Windows works, some visitors could be misdirected to inappropriate servers looking for this information, making them vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, Microsoft says.
The other four updates set for Tuesday are all rated "important" by Microsoft, meaning that they require some level of user interaction in order to be exploited. These four updates are all Windows-related. Two of them are for Vista, and two of them are for Microsoft's other operating systems.
December will be a much busier month for system administrators than November was. Last month, Microsoft released just two updates.