Windows XP users get Internet Explorer fix

By Sooraj Shah
02 May 2014 View Comments
Microsoft Internet Explorer

Microsoft will give users who are still using its Windows XP operating system a security patch to fix a critical bug in its Internet Explorer browser. The bug could enable hackers to gain access and user rights to a company or consumer PC running the operating system.

Security firm FireEye spotted the zero-day exploit and said it affected all versions of the browser from IE6 to IE11, with versions after IE9 most vulnerable.

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But as Microsoft had ended official support for the Windows XP operating system last month, it had been suggested that the bug would leave users exposed to the vulnerability and at risk of being hacked.

Recent research from virtualisation and desktop management company AppSense suggested that as many as 77 per cent of British businesses are still running Windows XP in some capacity.

In light of the timing of the bug, Microsoft has decided that despite no longer supporting XP, it will provide an update for IE running on all versions of its Windows operating system.

"We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP," Adrienne Hall, general manager of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft said that its security update has fixed the flaw in the browser. "The update is fully tested and ready for release for all affected versions of the browser." 

"The majority of customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because protections will be downloaded and installed automatically." 

According to NetMarketShare, the Internet Explorer versions from IE6 upwards account for more than half of the world's web browser market. The most vulnerable versions accounted for over a quarter (26.25 per cent) of the browser market in 2013, meaning that many consumers and businesses are affected by the bug. 

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