August 05, 2010, 4:41 PM — Microsoft today said it will deliver a record 14 security updates next week to patch a record-tying 34 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Office and Silverlight.
But people still running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) will receive only a few of those fixes.
"Call it Massive Patch Tuesday," said Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security risk and compliance provider Qualys. "It's a huge update, and more importantly, everybody's involved. I'm actually a little surprised at how large it is."
Eight of the 14 updates were tagged with Microsoft's "critical" label, the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system. The remaining six were marked "important," the second-highest rating.
Next week's Patch Tuesday will be a record on several fronts.
The 14 updates -- Microsoft dubs them "bulletins" -- are a record, beating the count from both February 2010 and October 2009 by one. The 34 individual patches equals the single-month record, which was first set last October and repeated in June 2010. And the eight critical updates next week will also tie the record set in October 2009.
Microsoft has been shipping alternating large and small batches of fixes, with the larger-sized updates landing in even-numbered months, so the month's big numbers shouldn't have come as a complete shock. In July, for example, the company issued just four bulletins that patched five vulnerabilities. June's collection, however, amounted to 10 bulletins that fixed 34 flaws .
IE is also patched on an every-other-month schedule. Microsoft last fixed IE flaws in June.
"This is big, not only because of the numbers, but also because they'll affect everybody," said Kandek, referring to next week's lineup.
According to Microsoft's monthly advance notification, the company will deliver 10 updates for Windows, half of them critical, the other five rated important. Two updates will patch one or more critical bugs in IE and Silverlight, while another pair affect Office.
All currently-supported versions of Windows are impacted by multiple updates, Microsoft said, with Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), the oldest edition that receives patches, affected by all five Windows-only critical updates, as well as by the critical IE and Silverlight fixes.