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Microsoft Fixes Critical Internet Explorer Bug

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 11 comments
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August's installment of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday round of security updates has arrived, and if you use Internet Explorer, you'll want to update your software right away. Among other things, this Patch Tuesday addresses a critical IE vulnerability that could allow a malefactor to take control of your system remotely.

As detailed in a Microsoft online posting, this round addresses nine security flaws: two deemed "Critical" and the rest "Important." Critical vulnerabilities could allow remote hackers to take control of user resources without any warning, while Important vulnerabilities mean the user would at least have a chance to defend him or herself from potential intrusion.

MORE: How to Hack Nearly Any Wireless Device

The Critical flaw in Internet Explorer was actually 26 separate bugs, only one of which was known to the public. The most severe vulnerability involves way for hackers to gain administrative rights to user computers by luring unsuspecting users to a specially crafted webpage. The Critical flaw for Windows let a remote user gain administrative rights over a user's PC by creating a Microsoft Office document that needed to access Windows Media Center assets.

The other flaws affected programs including Office, SQL Server and .NET framework. Some of the vulnerabilities were potentially dangerous, but not nearly to the extent as the two Critical flaws.

Anyone using Windows Vista or higher can download the patches by opening Windows Update, clicking Check for Updates and following the instructions. Windows XP users may be at risk, though, since Microsoft no longer provides security updates for that operating system, and many Windows flaws persist through multiple versions.

Like most major pieces of software, Microsoft's programs are prone to security flaws of varying severity. So far, the company has done a good job of discovering and patching them before malefactors can exploit them.

Users should still take some precautions on their own, though, such as by running antivirus software and exercising caution in following links from strange emails or delving too deep into potentially dangerous websites.

Patch Tuesday happens on the second Tuesday of every month, so the next update will occur Sept. 9.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 3 Hide
    iogbrideau , August 12, 2014 11:42 AM
    Seems to me every update tuesday has patches of this style for a bug that could get admin control. As said in the article, it involves the user, as usual. Nothing new here. Move along.
  • 2 Hide
    DragonFireXY , August 12, 2014 11:43 AM
    Who uses Internet Explorer?!
  • 2 Hide
    hannibal , August 12, 2014 11:49 AM
    Most people in the world?
    In companies there normally is not alternatives...
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    TechyInAZ , August 12, 2014 12:17 PM
    Well no wonder! For the last few months internet explorer wasn't working as great as before, and was getting glitchy at times, glad they fixed it! :) 
  • 4 Hide
    knowom , August 12, 2014 2:07 PM
    Wait so Internet Explorer is broken again? ;)  Almost makes me want to stop using XP except for the fact Firefox fixes like 90% of it's security risk problems. I'd rather support Mozilla than Microsoft.
  • 1 Hide
    mrwilliams , August 13, 2014 12:48 AM
    I can't see the point in not fixing IE for XP. The flaws were there long before Microsoft stopped releasing the (mostly useless) "security" updates for XP, and the browser should be seen by the company as an independent entity than the OS.
  • 1 Hide
    mrwilliams , August 13, 2014 12:49 AM
    I can't see the point in not fixing IE for XP. The flaws were there long before Microsoft stopped releasing the (mostly useless) "security" updates for XP, and the browser should be seen by the company as an independent entity than the OS.
  • 0 Hide
    das_stig , August 13, 2014 8:33 AM
    You can guarantee if the flaw is that bad, Microsuck will be patching and sending out to corporates who have that expenses extended support contract ... see if they start leaking out in to the wild !
  • 0 Hide
    iogbrideau , August 13, 2014 11:43 AM
    Quote:
    I can't see the point in not fixing IE for XP. The flaws were there long before Microsoft stopped releasing the (mostly useless) "security" updates for XP, and the browser should be seen by the company as an independent entity than the OS.

    If the browser had been seen as a different entity all along, they would've stopped pushing updates years ago for that version. They're now at version 11 and most browser companies usually only update up to 2 versions behind. Then again if it was a different entity they probably would've made a version of IE 11 compatible with Windows XP.
  • 0 Hide
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  • 0 Hide
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