Microsoft Releases Emergency Internet Explorer Fix

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has issued an emergency software fix for a critical flaw in its Internet Explorer web browser. According to reports, hackers have already exploited the vulnerability.

Microsoft released the "Fix It" software in an attempt to prevent what it calls "targeted attacks" on a vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser.

Microsoft is calling this a "zero day" vulnerability, meaning software developers were unaware of the issue before it was exploited by hackers.

Hackers Launch Remote Code Execution Attacks

Reports indicate that hackers have used the flaw to carry out remote code execution attacks, meaning they've been able to remotely take control of systems by exploiting the vulnerability.

"This would typically occur when an attacker compromises the security of trusted websites regularly frequented, or convinces someone to click on a link in an email or instant message," Microsoft said. (Source:

Microsoft insists that only a "limited number" of successful attacks have occurred. However, given how rarely the firm distributes emergency fixes of this kind, security experts say no one should be underestimating the threat.

Download Fix Now, Experts Insist

"If you want to protect your copy of Internet Explorer from having the flaw exploited, you need to download and run the tool," noted prominent security analyst Graham Cluley.

Qualys Inc. security expert Wolfgang Kandek agrees. "With the Fix It out, I'm sure any attacker who is a bit sophisticated can figure out what the flaw is and implement a similar exploit in their own attack toolkit," Kandek said. (Source:

Most of the attacks have been directed at slightly older versions of Internet Explorer, including Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9. Still, users of all versions of Internet Explorer are encouraged to download and install the fix.

At the moment it doesn't appear Microsoft will roll out an automatic download of the Fix It, meaning users will need to manually install it. To learn more about the workaround directly from Microsoft, click here.

Experts suggest that those unwilling to initiate a manual download should, for the time being, discontinue using Internet Explorer.

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