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Monday, January 09, 2006

Microsoft Released WMF security fix

Microsoft released a security fix for a recently discovered flaw in its Windows operating system several days early, in a bid to foil hackers trying to exploit the vulnerability.

The software giant released the security "patch" ahead of its original plan to distribute the update on January 10.

The patch can be downloaded from the company's website at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms06-001.mspx.

Earlier this week, the company said the problem was "worse than a critical flaw," because it allows hackers to take control of a computer from over the internet.

"Microsoft originally planned to release the update on Tuesday, January 10, 2006, as part of its regular monthly release of security bulletins, after testing for quality and application compatibility was complete," the company said in a statement.

"However, testing has been completed earlier than anticipated and the update is ready for release. In addition, Microsoft is releasing the update early in response to strong customer sentiment that the release should be made available as soon as possible."

Microsoft said its monitoring of attack data "continues to indicate that the attacks are limited and are being mitigated both by Microsoft's efforts to shut down malicious websites and by up-to-date signatures from anti-virus companies".

The Windows Meta File flaw evidently went undetected and unexploited for several generations of Windows platforms, analysts said.

The vulnerability allows malicious code to be slipped into an unsuspecting user's computer via graphics files, analysts explained.

Experts have joined Microsoft in urging PC users to download the update.


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