Microsoft holds its "Patch Tuesday" event every second Tuesday of the month, where the company releases a number of software updates for various products. On the Thursday before Patch Tuesday, Microsoft releases a brief summary of the security updates it plans to release on that day.
Today is Thursday and, right on time, Microsoft has indeed released its advanced security bulletin for the next Patch Tuesday, which will happen on February 12th. There will be 12 total security updates launched on that day and five of them are labeled as critical. They will fix a whopping 57 separate vulnerabilities.
Two of the critical update bulletins will affect Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 and RT. Those same two bulletins are also for IE 6-9 and are either labeled as "critical" or "important" depending on the operating system. Windows XP will get two more critical updates of its own for the next Patch Tuesday and Windows Vista will receive a separate critical update as well.
While Windows 7, 8 and RT will all receive security updates on their own for Patch Tuesday, none of them are considered critical. Windows 7 will have five "Important" updates to download, while Windows 8 will have four such downloads and Windows RT will receive three "important" updates.
As usual, Microsoft has not gone into detail on the specifics behind these updates so as to not alert hackers beforehand but will release that information after the patches are launched on Tuesday.