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It is this very “wormlike” capability — a flaw in Microsoft’s SMB service — that was harnessed for spreading by Wanna Cry, the global ransomware contagion last month that held files for ransom at countless organizations and shut down at least 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom.According to Microsoft, this newer SMB flaw is already being exploited in the wild.One bug is so serious that Microsoft is issuing patches for it on Windows XP and other operating systems the company no longer officially supports.Separately, Adobe has pushed critical updates for its Flash and Shockwave players, two programs most users would probably be better off without.And, as with that SMB flaw, Microsoft has made the unusual decision to make fixes for this newer SMB bug available for those older versions.Users running XP or Server 2003 can get the update for this flaw here.For some ideas about how to hobble or do without Flash (as well as slightly less radical solutions) check out A Month Without Adobe Flash Player.

The original bulletin from Microsoft’s Security Response Center incorrectly stated that was part of this vulnerability: rather, it has nothing to do with this vulnerability and was not patched. I’m mentioning it here because a Windows user or admin thinking that turning off would stop all vectors to this attack would be wrong and still vulnerable without the patch.According to security firm Qualys, 27 of the 94 security holes Microsoft patches with today’s release can be exploited remotely by malware or miscreants to seize complete control over vulnerable systems with little or no interaction on the part of the user.Microsoft this month is fixing another serious flaw (CVE-2017-8543) present in most versions of Windows that resides in the feature of the operating system which handles file and printer sharing (also known as “Server Message Block” or the SMB service).Same goes for Adobe Flash Player, which probably most users can get by with these days just enabling it in the rare instance that it’s required.I recommend for users who have an affirmative need for Flash to leave it disabled until that need arises. Adobe patches dangerous new Flash flaws all the time, and Flash bugs are still the most frequently exploited by exploit kits — malware booby traps that get stitched into the fabric of hacked and malicious Web sites so that visiting browsers running vulnerable versions of Flash get automatically seeded with malware.