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Microsoft to issue emergency patch to plug IE hole
Published on: 2010-01-20
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SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)--Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Tuesday it would soon release an emergency software patch to fix an Internet Explorer browser flaw implicated in a Chinese hacker attack on Google Inc. (GOOG) and as many at 34 other companies.

The move signals unusual urgency by Microsoft, which appears to have concluded its clients cannot afford to wait until early February when it is scheduled to release its next software patch.

"Given the significant level of attention this issue has generated, confusion about what customers can do to protect themselves and the escalating threat environment Microsoft will release a security update out-of-band for this vulnerability," the company said in a blog post.

The company said it would not know until tomorrow when exactly it would be able to release the update. Software patches for applications such as Microsoft's browser are extremely complicated and engineers must make sure they will not cause unexpected problems.

Microsoft's announcement stems from a sophisticated cyberattack, targeting at least 34 companies, that is widely believed to have originated in China. The attack prompted Google to take an unusually bold public stance and threaten to pull out of China.

Microsoft did not specifically link its IE vulnerability to that attack, but security research firm McAfee Inc. (MFE) and others have said the attackers exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in Microsoft's browsers that enabled the hackers to steal data from Google, Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE), Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR).

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