Microsoft is planning to release nine bulletins, three critical, as part of the July edition of its Patch Tuesday monthly update cycle.
One of the three crucial advisories is expected* to offer patches for a serious XML Core Services vulnerability, disclosed but not fixed in June’s Patch Tuesday. This vulnerability has been actively exploited in attacks over recent weeks. The other two crucial bulletins cover unspecified problems in Internet Explorer and Windows.
The remaining six bulletins are rated "important" and grapple with flaws in Windows, Office, Sharepoint and Office for the Mac.
Redmond has also been rolling out an improved version of the Windows Update client over recent weeks, designed to address shortcomings in the patching mechanism abused by the Flame cyber-espionage tool. These improved patching measures will come into play in earnest with next week's update, which is due to arrive on 10 July.
* The majority of security watchers expect Redmond to patch the XML flaw next Tuesday but this remains unconfirmed. Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst at Lumension, certainly has his doubts.
"It remains unclear if Microsoft will be issuing a patch this Patch Tuesday for the XML Core Services issue that is currently being actively exploited in IE attacks," Henry writes. "Microsoft normally includes details in their pre-release information if a Day Zero patch is included. However, in the July pre-release, no mention of the issue was included."