MS Critical Security Fix: Released Ahead of Schedule

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft Corp. released an emergency security patch to plug a hole recently found in several versions of Windows, including the company's brand-new operating system, Vista.

Microsoft is receiving some ridicule from industry analysts, since the company has invested months of promotion, claiming that Vista is the most secure operating system ever.

Many have said that the hole has the company so worried, that Microsoft put their critical security fix one whole week ahead of their regularly scheduled update. (Source:

The hole allows hackers to break into personal computers and install malicious software, the very thing that Microsoft hoped to discourage with their Live OneCare virus-prevention software.

Microsoft warned users about the vulnerability of the ".ani" files, which are used to change the cursor into an hourglass image while a program is in use. In some cases, ".ani" files will also appear as a dancing animal or other animation depending on the specially designed website. (Source:

Microsoft security experts said that the hole was being actively exploited by hackers to install keystroke-logging programs.

The rapid response team at Microsoft's iDefense believes that Chinese hackers were the ones responsible for the security hole, using the hack to steal and sell log-ins to the popular "World of Warcraft" multiplayer computer game.

Microsoft admitted that the company had known about the hole since December, but decided to keep it a secret until something could have been done to fix the problem. (Source:

The new patch is expected to be a significant defense weapon against Vista hackers.

But Microsoft warns that as businesses take time to test and implement the patch in their computers, hackers will still be at work attacking PC's all over the world.

Those who own Windows computers that do not automatically install critical patches can download the security update, called MS07-017, directly from Microsoft's website. (Source:

You can download the Security Patch direct from Microsoft:

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