Welcome to our analysis of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday of August 2013. The company has released a total of eight bulletins this time that patch vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Server Software, and Internet Explorer.
Three of the bulletins have received a maximum severity rating of critical, the highest rating available, while the remaining five bulletins have all received one of important, the second highest rating.
What this means is that there is at least one product that is affected by a vulnerability this way, while other products may have received the same or a lower severity rating.
The eight bulletins that Microsoft is releasing fix a total of 23 different vulnerabilities in Microsoft products.
Operating System Distribution
This section looks at individual operating systems and how each one is affected by vulnerabilities that Microsoft fixed on this Patch Tuesday in August 2013.
Microsoft has released a total of eight bulletins for various client and server operating systems, and other software such as Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer. While Internet Explorer is included in Windows, it is handled separately by Microsoft in regards to vulnerabilities.
Windows XP is taking the crown this time as it is affected by more critical vulnerabilities than all other client operating systems. All other systems, Vista, 7 and 8, share the same vulnerability ratings.
You find the same distribution on the server side, with Windows Server 2003 affected by a single critical vulnerability, while newer server operating systems share the same vulnerability scores.
Microsoft releases a deployment priority guide each month to aid system administrators and users in prioritizing updates. It is usually the case that critical updates should be deployed first before other updates are deployed.
Microsoft suggests the following deployment priority:
Non-security related updates
Security updates do get prioritized by Microsoft. It pays to look at the list of non-security updates that Microsoft has released as they can fix non-security related issues. This can improve the stability of a system, its performance, fix bugs in programs or features, or improve the system in other ways.
How to download and install the August 2013 security updates
Most Windows users have automatic updates enabled on their systems, which means that important updates do get downloaded and installed automatically on their systems. While that is the case, it is often a good idea to check for updates manually shortly after this article goes live as you may have to wait hours and sometimes even days before the updates get installed otherwise.
Most Windows users can do the following to check for updates.
Experienced users and system administrators do not install updates right away. The core reason for this is that updates may include bugs or issues that Microsoft's quality testing has missed. That's why updates can also be downloaded from Microsoft directly.
This is not only useful when you want to test updates in a safe environment, a virtual machine or test system for example, but also when you need to deploy them on a larger scale. If you are using Windows Update to download updates, you are wasting bandwidth as each PC is downloading the same updates (provided they are running the same version of Windows).
You can download all patches from Microsoft's Download Center either individually, or as a monthly ISO image. An alternative to that are third party tools that you can use to download patches and updates to your system.
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