Microsoft plans to push out five bulletins - two of which cover critical flaws - as part of the March edition of Patch Tuesday.
One of the critical updates offers relief from a 0-day (unpatched but being exploited) vulnerability in Internet Explorer discovered about three weeks ago. Microsoft previously addressed the issue with Fixit KB2934088, but Tuesday’s patch will be more permanent fix. The other critical issue affects all supported versions of Windows.
The latest update will arrive less than a month Windows XP support ends on next month's Patch Tuesday - 8 April. Microsoft will start serving up nagging pop-ups, and migration advice, to irritated XP laggards from tomorrow – Saturday 8 March.
“Windows XP is affected by all five updates and there is really no reason to expect this picture to change: Windows XP will continue to be impacted by the majority of vulnerabilities found in the Windows ecosystem, but you will not be able to address the issues anymore,” writes Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at cloud security firm Qualys, in a blog post. "Windows XP is getting its penultimate update and is now very close (just over 30 days) to its declared end of life date."
Qualys reports that it continues to see a large number of XP systems in its scans, ranging from around 25 per cent in its consumer-oriented service BrowserCheck to under 20 per cent on its enterprise-oriented QualysGuard service. ®