Feb. 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM ET
If you have your Windows computer set up so that it gets Microsoft's software updates automatically, such as on "Patch Tuesdays," good. If you don't, you'll want to make sure you get the latest update for Internet Explorer issued this week, rated "critical" for many recent versions of IE.
(Msnbc.com is a joint
The update "resolves four privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer," says Microsoft in a security bulletin, describing how an attacker could take control of your PC:
The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
The update is considered "critical" for IE 7, IE 8 and IE 9 on PCs, and "moderate" for IE 7, IE 8 and IE 9 on Windows servers. If you are still one of the few using IE 6, the threat is considered "moderate."