Microsoft releases emergency Internet Explorer patch
Microsoft has rushed out a software update for Internet Explorer after the browser was found to contain a security flaw
The "out of band" security update – so called because it has not been released as part of a wider package of software updates – fixes the security flaw that is thought to be related to recent hack attacks against Google and other organisations.
The MS10-002 security update will patch the vulnerabilities in internet Explorer that pose a security risk, and will also fix other critical problems with the browser code that have yet to be exploited by cyber criminals.
"Once applied, customers are protected against the known attacks that have been widely publicised," said Microsoft in a statement. "We recommend that customers install the update as soon as it is available. For customers using automatic updates, this update will automatically be applied once it is released."
"This is great news for Internet Explorer users and should serve as enough warning to IT administrators to prepare to roll out this fix," said Chester Wisniewski, a security specialist at Sophos. "The team at Microsoft has done an excellent job of responding quickly, openly and with absolute professionalism. While most of the community has been building the panic, Microsoft has continually provided detailed, accurate information that balances the risk with practical advice."
Microsoft also advised all Windows users to update their browser to internet Explorer 8 in order to "benefit from the improved security protection it offers".
The security patch comes just days after both the French and German governments advised citizens to switch to stop using Internet Explorer and switch to an alternative web browser.
Rival browser makers, including Firefox and Opera, are said to be benefiting from the fallout, with downloads of Firefox spiking in Germany immediately after the government issued its advice, and more than twice as many people as usual downloaded Opera over the weekend.
Windows users can download the patch from the Microsoft Technet site .