School technology leaders, take note: Microsoft Corp. on Feb. 8 released eight security fixes that carry its highest threat rating of "critical" and said all the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to take complete control of an infected computer system if users don't apply the patches.

Seven of the critical security vulnerabilities affect various parts of the Windows operating system and server software, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, media player, and instant messaging program. The eighth critical problem is with Microsoft's Office XP business software.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker also released another four...

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