Microsoft Fixes Serious Internet Explorer Flaw

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Microsoft ( MSFTreleased a security update for a reported Web browser vulnerability. The patch is said to fix a potentially serious issue affecting nearly all recent versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer software.

The problem was deemed especially worrisome for those still using Windows XP. Microsoft's official support for the 12-year old operating system ended in early April. Luckily, Microsoft has announced the fix is available for Windows XP users as well

Microsoft shares were gaining 0.27% to $40.11 in premarket trading in New York.

The solution is being delivered using the company's automatic update system for operating systems beginning with XP through and including the current Windows 8.1 and 8.1 RT. For end-users who prefer to manually update their systems. Microsoft "strongly encourages" application of the update "as quickly as possible."

The recently discovered problem involved what Microsoft described as a remote code execution vulnerability that might "corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website."

This vulnerability uses what is described as a "well-known ( Adobe ( ADBE)) Flash exploitation" that is designed to bypass previous Windows protections.

Microsoft said later versions of Internet Explorer (IE 10 and 11) are slightly less vulnerable to the malicious software but recommends installation of the just-released solution to make sure all Windows PCs are protected against the problem.

Despite the new fix, Microsoft is still urging all XP users to upgrade their computers and migrate to currently supported versions of the operating system including Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The company urges those still using older versions of its browser to upgrade to the current version Internet Explorer, IE 11.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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