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Microsoft issued an emergency security update Thursday, meant to fix a major security flaw in all versions of the Internet Explorer Web browser.
The flaw was serious enough that the Department of Homeland Security warned Americans to quit using IE until Microsoft fixed the problem.
In a surprising twist, Microsoft’s fix will also safeguard IE on Windows XP operating systems. Microsoft officially stopped its support of XP on April 8 and had said that a fix wouldn’t be developed for the 13-year-old operating system. That’s obviously not the case now. According to PCWorld:
“We take a huge amount of pride that, among widely used browsers, IE is the safest in the world due to its secure development and ability to protect customers, even in the face of cybercriminals who want to break it,” Adrienne Hall, the general manager of trustworthy computing for Microsoft, wrote. “This means that when we saw the first reports about this vulnerability we said fix it, fix it fast, and fix it for all our customers. So we did.”
The security patch comes just five days after Microsoft began warning its customers about the threat.
If you have automatic updates turned on, you should be fine. If not, go to the Control Panel and click on Windows Update, then “check for updates.” You should do this immediately, so you’re protected.