Microsoft has the habit of releasing security patches on one Tuesday each month. Time critical patches can be delivered out of schedule but that did not happen that often in the past. Only one security bulletin has been released on the patch Tuesday in January 2009. Security Bullein MS09-001 has been rated critical for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 respectively moderate for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
The security bulletin resolves three vulnerabilities in Microsoft Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol which could allow remote code execution on affected systems. An attacker could run programs, create new user accounts and view, change or delete data on the computer system. It is interesting to note that Windows 7 is affected as well even though it is not mentioned in the security bulletin.
The security vulnerability would be rated as moderate for the upcoming operating system which is why Microsoft will not provide a patch at the current time (They chose to only patch critical security vulnerabilities immediately). A patch will be released with the next public release of Windows 7.
Patches can be applied as usual through the various official update channels.
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