It was only a matter of time. Yesterday, Microsoft shipped several critical security patches for Windows Vista, including a major Internet Explorer (IE) update that affects all IE versions from IE 5.01 on Windows 2000 through IE 7.0 on Windows Vista. Virtually all of the IE-related patches are rated as critical.

According to Microsoft, this month's regularly scheduled security release includes six patches that fix 15 vulnerabilities. Four of the six are rated critical, and affect various Windows and IE versions. One Office/Visio-related fix is rated as important, while a final Windows fix is rated as moderate.

If you're interested in details about the various flaws, Microsoft has a wealth of information on its Security Central Web site. But Windows users are advised to enable Automatic Updates and download and install all critical security fixes automatically.