Microsoft on Thursday released a security update to fix a critical bug in its Internet Explorer browser to help the millions of customers still running Windows XP operating system, which Microsoft stopped supporting last month.
Microsoft Corp rushed to create the fix after learning of the bug in the operating system over the weekend when cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc warned that a sophisticated group of hackers had exploited the bug to launch attacks in a campaign dubbed “Operation Clandestine Fox”. It was the first high-profile threat to emerge after Microsoft stopped providing support to its 13-year-old XP operating software on April 8.
Users should have automatic updates turned on to get the security fix. For those that don’t have the updates enabled, “now is the time,” wrote Dustin Childs, with the response communications team at Microsoft.
Adrienne Hall, General Manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said in a statement, “The fix is coming outside of Microsoft’s usual monthly security update cycle as company decided to fix problem quickly for all customers, saying it takes the security of its products “incredibly seriously.”
Microsoft on Wednesday said it would not provide the remedy to Windows XP users because it had stopped supporting the product. But on Thursday, as Microsoft started releasing the fix for the bug through its automated Windows Update system, a company spokeswoman said the remedy also would be pushed out to XP customers.
Microsoft first had warned that it was planning to end support for Windows XP in 2007, but security firms estimated that 15 to 25 percent of the world’s personal computers still run on the version of the operating system that was released in October 2001.
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