updated 1/9/2007 6:11:04 PM ET 2007-01-09T23:11:04

Microsoft Corp. released three security patches for its prevalent Office line of software and one for the Windows operating system on Tuesday, fixing holes that could let an outsider take control of an unwitting victim's computer.

Two of the Office vulnerabilities and the Windows hole were deemed critical, the company's highest threat level.

The fourth, rated "important," affects only versions of Office with a Brazilian Portuguese grammar analyzer.

One of the critical vulnerabilities can be found in Microsoft's latest Web browser, Internet Explorer 7. But none affect Microsoft's new Office 2007 or Windows Vista packages, which have been released to business customers and hit the consumer market Jan. 30.

Users with Microsoft's automatic updates feature will get the patches sent to their computers. Other users should visit Microsoft's security Web pages.

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