Patch Tuesday has come and gone, and Microsoft has released its latest round of security updates, this time only four.

They include three that have been rated Critical and one rated Important.

The critical updates all relate to flaws in Microsoft Office, including the Office 2003 Brazilian Portuguese Grammar Checker, Excel, and Outlook.

The Important update fixes a flaw in the Vector Markup Language in Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003. A similar bug was fixed in a September release.

Microsoft was scheduled to publish eight updates, but obviously was forced to postpone four, perhaps due to quality control. Security analysts have noted that these may have been fixes for recently-reported zero-day exploits in Word.

The four updates cover a total of 10 flaws, nine of which relate to three Critical Office updates. The bugs would allow an attack to gain control of a PC after a malicious file has been opened by an unsuspecting PC users.

Interestingly, it affects Office for Mac as well as Windows PC.

The Windows bug requires someone to view a malicious Vector Markup Language file with Internet Explorer before an attack can take place. Vista is apparently immune to this problem.