Microsoft warns of six "critical" security flaws

Microsoft Corp. issued six "critical" security patches on Tuesday to fix flaws in its software products that the company warned could allow attackers to take control of a user's computer.

Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs on more than 95 percent of the world's computers, issued the patches as part of its monthly security bulletin. There were no patches issued in the update for the newest version of Windows, called Vista.

Microsoft made Vista available to consumers in January after five years of development and a number of delays to improve security. The company says the new operating system is the most secure Windows program ever.

Microsoft defines a flaw as "critical" when the vulnerability could allow a damaging Internet worm to replicate without the user doing anything to the machine.

The world's biggest software maker said the critical flaws affected versions of its Windows, Office, Works, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Malware Protection Engine products. It rated the other holes at its lower threat level of "important."

The company has been working to improve the security and reliability of its software as more and more malicious software target weaknesses in Windows and other Microsoft software.

The latest patches can be downloaded at

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