February 8th is Safer Internet Day, a day devoted to making the Internet a better place for children. And before your child goes online… make sure their computer is up to date with secure software. There are lots of updates and patches to install this month.
Microsoft's Security Bulletin includes a critical update for Internet Explorer that affect all versions of IE.
Note that the least affected OS is Windows XP Service Pack 3. That's because Service Pack 2 was retired from the update cycle last year. Children are often provided "hand-me-down" computers. Before giving a child old hardware, make sure the current service pack is installed. You should also consider an alternative browser.
But then again, alternatives aren't worry free either.
VLC media player, another popular alternative, has a flaw when parsing an invalid MKV file that could allow a malicious attacker to trigger an execution of arbitrary code. VLC media player 1.1.7 addresses this issue, so either update, or avoid untrusted downloads (and sites if you have the VLC plugin installed).
Adobe is also publishing an update today for Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Affected versions include Adobe Reader X (10.0) and earlier versions for both Windows and Macintosh.