Next Tuesday's IE update will address one or more vulnerabilities in all versions of the browser, from the decade-old IE6 to last year's IE9. Storms pointed out that IE6's update is graded as "moderate," third on Microsoft's scale, while the newer browsers' patches will be pegged critical or important, depending on the version and operating system.
"The conclusion we can draw is that while IE6 is still vulnerable, [the bug] may be harder to get at than the other versions," said Storms. "But they'll patch it anyway."
Other updates will tackle vulnerabilities in Visio 2010, a diagramming application that's part of the Office family; SharePoint Server 2010; and the .Net and Silverlight frameworks, which are used by developers to craft applications and websites.
None of the updates scheduled to ship next week appear to be connected to an unsolved security advisory, Storms said.
Microsoft will release the nine updates at approximately 1 p.m. ET on Feb. 14.
"That's Valentine's Day," noted Storms. "I can bet that some will be using it as an excuse that they forgot."
Unless Microsoft issues a surprise security update after next Tuesday -- unlikely, as it shipped just one "out-of-band" patch in all of 2011 -- next week's batch will be the last from the company before its Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 face exploits at this year's Pwn2Own hacking contest , which will kick off March 7 and wrap up two days later.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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