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Microsoft to plug critical IE hole targeted by exploit code

Patch Tuesday will see fixes for 12 vulnerabilities in IE, Windows, and Office, three of which are critical.

Microsoft said on Thursday that it will offer six updates for 12 vulnerabilities next week including a critical hole in Internet Explorer that affects Windows 7 and other current versions of the operating system for which exploit code has been released.

Late last month, Microsoft said it was investigating an IE vulnerability after someone released proof-of-concept code affecting IE 6 and IE 7 that could be used to take control of computers.

Microsoft described the problem in an advisory issued November 23: "The vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference of Internet Explorer. It is possible under certain conditions for a CSS/Style object to be accessed after the object is deleted. In a specially-crafted attack, Internet Explorer attempting to access a freed object can lead to running attacker-supplied code."

Of the six updates Microsoft will release on Patch Tuesday, three of them are critical, according to a Microsoft security bulletin advance notification.

Software affected includes Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2003, Server 2008, Office XP, and Office 2003.