Microsoft Set to Patch Critical Internet Explorer Flaw

Microsoft's upcoming round of Patch Tuesday monthly updates, due next week, will likely include an all-encompassing patch for a serious Internet Explorer flaw.

Malware attacking the browser flaw, dubbed a zero-day exploit because Microsoft didn't know about the underlying flaw beforehand, has been attacking government agencies and financial institutions in Japan and Taiwan through poisoned Web pages.

The flaw affects all currently supported versions of Windows (XP through 8.1) and Internet Explorer (6 through 11).

MORE: Free Antivirus Software: The Best of 2013

This month's Microsoft advance Patch Tuesday security bulletin lists a patch for a "critical" flaw matching the IE flaw's characteristics.

Microsoft issued a temporary "fix-it" for the flaw three weeks ago, but a patch delivered through Windows Update should make the fix permanent. 

To make sure the patch is delivered properly, Windows users should go to Windows Update in Control Panel and make certain their settings are set to "Install updates automatically."

Other patches due from Microsoft on Tuesday include three marked "critical" that affect all versions of Windows from XP to 8. (The flaws seem to not exist in Windows 8.1.)

Adobe Systems, maker of Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and other creative-professional software products, will be pushing out security updates to Reader and Acrobat on Patch Tuesday. (The company synchronized its monthly patch schedule with Microsoft's last year.)

Adobe users will be prompted to install the updates after Tuesday.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.