Yesterday morning Microsoft issued a fix to patch a security bug that impacted every major version of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser. In a somewhat surprising move, the company even fixed those versions of IE running on Windows XP.
If you are running Windows and don’t have automatic updates enabled, be sure to perform a manual update as soon as possible to get the security fix.
The bug affected IE 6 through 11 and allowed attackers to install malware on your computer without your permission that could be used to steal personal data, track online behavior or gain control of the computer.
Prior to releasing the patch, speculation was rampant as to whether Microsoft would also fix Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8, the only versions of the browser that still run on the 12-year-old Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports. In a blog post Dustin Childs of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing wrote that “We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users,” he said, noting that “Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft” and that Redmond “continue[s] to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1.”