Microsoft rescues XP users with emergency browser fix

Microsoft has has fixed a security bug in its Internet Explorer browser. Credit: Reuters
Microsoft has has fixed a security bug in its Internet Explorer browser. Credit: Reuters

Microsoft is helping the estimated hundreds of millions of customers still running Windows XP, which it stopped supporting earlier this month, by providing an emergency update to fix a critical bug in its Internet Explorer browser.

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.

Microsoft on Wednesday initially 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.

“We decided to fix it, fix it fast, and fix it for all our customers,” spokeswoman Adrienne Hall said on Microsoft’s official blog.

She said there had not been many attacks exploiting the vulnerability, which Microsoft decided to patch in XP “based on the proximity” to its recent end of support.

“There have been a very small number of attacks based on this particular vulnerability and concerns were, frankly, overblown,” she said in the blog.

At the end of last week, FireEye initially uncovered attacks involving recent versions of Windows that are still supported by Microsoft.

Then, three days ago, it began identifying attacks on Windows XP, which users would not necessarily have been able to thwart if Microsoft had not decided to roll out the update to XP users in addition to other customers.

FireEye said in a blog published on Thursday that it had observed new groups of hackers exploiting the vulnerability to attack targets in government and energy sectors, in addition to previously identified financial and defense industries.

Microsoft was under pressure to move quickly as the U.S., UK and German governments advised computer users on Monday to consider using alternatives to Microsoft’s Explorer browser until it released a fix.

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.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…