Microsoft's latest Patch Tuesday update marked the end of support for two of its most widely used products, Windows XP and Office 2003.
Customers were officially notified of final fixes for the platforms via a security bulletin yesterday, after a long campain to get users to upgrade to newer versions of the software.
In total, 11 remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Windows were addressed with four patches.
The highest priority bulletin, MS14-017, rectified three bugs in Office, including a zero-day vulnerability in Word 2010 that had already been exploited in limited, targeted attacks against users.
The flaw could be exploited when a user opened a malicious rich text format (RTF) file, or previewed or opened a malicious RTF email message in Outlook while using Word as the email viewer.
The other patch ranked “critical” by the company was MS14-018, which resolved six RCE bugs in Internet Explorer.
The remaining two bulletins, MS14-019 and MS14-020, were ranked “important,” and fixed vulnerabilities in the file handling component of Windows and in Microsoft Publisher.
Dustin Childs, group manager of response communications for Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, rallied users via a company blog to join him in “wishing Windows XP and Office 2003 a fond farewell as they head towards the sunset of their lives".
But for many, the software will retain longevity, particularly the 12-year-old XP operating system. IT research and advisory firm Gartner estimated 20 to 25 percent of enterprise systems will still run XP past its ending support phase.