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Microsoft patches 18 security vulnerabilities

Microsoft has fixed a total of 18 security vulnerabilities in its Windows and Office software by distributing seven patches.

Five of the patches were deemed as “critical” by the company, which usually means the vulnerabilities can be exploited by remote hackers to take over systems without any user interaction.

One of the critical fixes mends a flaw in a Windows component that can be used to spread a worm across systems. Other fixes plug flaws in the Office productivity suite that are already being exploited in the wild.

Four of the patches tackled five Windows-related issues, including a security vulnerability in the “mailshot” Windows component.

The mailshot flaw can be used by remote attackers to launch a worm across corporate systems and the internet, potentially slowing down or stopping network traffic.

The other three Microsoft patches tackle flaws in the Office productivity suite. One of these addresses eight flaws in the Excel spreadsheet, some of which have already been well publicised.

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