Critical flaws in Windows and Word are to be patched next week in Microsoft's monthly release of security updates.
The patches will include three critical fixes for bugs in Windows operating system components, including Internet Explorer and the Outlook Express mail client. A fourth critical fix for users of older versions of Word will also be released, the Microsoft said on its website.
The Word update is for Microsoft Word 2000 Service Pack 3, Microsoft Word 2002 Service Pack 3, and Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac.
Also on tap are less-critical updates for Windows and Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software. Microsoft had dropped a planned SharePoint update at the last minute in September, so this SharePoint update is probably the missing patch, security experts said. Microsoft's public relations agency would not say whether the October updates include last month's planned SharePoint fix.
Although security researchers have said that they are focusing less on bugs in Microsoft's core operating system, this month's patches belie that trend. Five of the seven updates are for Windows components.
Last month Microsoft released a total of four security updates.