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Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Microsoft Offers Early Fix for Critical IE Bug

Mounting problem forces software giant to release VML patch ahead of its monthly security update.

With attackers finding new ways to exploit a critical flaw in Internet Explorer, Microsoft today released a patch for the problem, ahead of its next scheduled round of security updates.

The patch fixes a critical vulnerability in the way Internet Explorer renders VML (Vector Markup Language) graphics. Hackers had been exploiting the flaw, which also affects some versions of Outlook, for more than a week, and in recent days malicious activity had been on the upswing. Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-055 discusses the problem and the patch. The out-of-cycle release is unusual, but not unprecedented.

Microsoft generally releases its security updates on the second Tuesday of every month, giving system administrators a predictable way to set aside time to test the new software. Occasionally, the company will release patches ahead of time if a flaw is being widely exploited by attackers. In January, it patched a critical flaw in the Microsoft Windows Metafile (WMF) image-rendering engine after it became a widespread problem.

Users can download the fix over here:

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