Patches and worms - Merry Christmas.

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Microsoft gives patch junkies another fix as it rolls out its pre-Christmas December update.

The patches, classified as "important," fix five flaws in Microsoft software. Yearly patches 41-45 protect Wordpad, Windows HyperTerminal, DHCP, Windows Kernel and the Windows Internet Naming Service (Wins). Most affect all Windows operating systems apart from MS04-043, which is Windows NT specific.

The Christmas gifts have been stacking up over the last few days. Recipients of a "Merry Christmas" card will find their excitement soon turns to despair as a new variant of the Zafi worm distributes malicious code and circulates to whomever it finds in the local address book.

Like Father Christmas Zafi has appeared over the holiday season before but whereas the jolly red man comes down the chimney, Zafi appears in an attachment and inserts a trojan horse onto the infected computer.

www.microsoft.com/technet/security

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