Microsoft Issues Windows Patch Earlier Than Planned

By Brian Krebs
Special to the Washington Post
Friday, January 6, 2006

Microsoft Corp. released a software update yesterday to fix a security flaw in its Windows operating systems that hackers have been using to attack computers for the past 10 days.

Users can download the free patch -- designed for computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 -- from .

Microsoft had planned to release the patch next week as part of a regular security update.

Debby Fry Wilson, director of Microsoft's security response center, said the company decided to release the patch early in part because it had finished testing it sooner than expected, but also in response to "very strong feedback from customers who wanted to have the update early. We decided the right thing to do was to put it out today."

The company was criticized this week by some security experts for playing down the severity of the flaw, which was revealed Dec. 27 and spread to hundreds of Web sites.

Those experts then took the unusual step of recommending a patch by a third-party developer instead of waiting for Microsoft.

Microsoft said it also plans to release two updates on Tuesday to fix two security holes it labeled "critical."

Brian Krebs is a reporter.

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