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Microsoft Readies 12 Patches, Reveals New Security Plans

Microsoft is getting ready to release a dozen security patches when Patch Tuesday rolls around next week.Of the 12 fixes, seven have been deemed "critical" and affect Windows, Internet Explorer, Media Player, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Office. If not patched, they could be exploited remotely by hackers seeking to hijack users' PCs. The remaining five patches are rated "important" and affect Windows, Outlook Express, Messenger, and Office.

Earlier this week at the Black Hat conference, Microsoft unveiled a handful of new security initiatives, including the Microsoft Vulnerability Research program, which formalizes how the vendor reveals vulnerabilities its researchers find in third-party software; the Exploitability Index, which assesses the likelihood of exploit code becoming available following the issuance of Security Bulletins; and the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP), which gives certain third-party vendors access to vulnerability information before it's released to the public.InformationWeek, Network World