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Microsoft released a hotfix for a previous IE patch on Thursday after it emerged its initial security update caused almost as many problems as it was intended to solve. The software giant's MS06-042 patch, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer, first issued as part of Redmond's regular Patch Tuesday Update cycle, unwittingly introduced new security problems. Users running IE 6 Service Pack 1 for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and all versions of Windows 2000 were affected. Windows XP SP2 were safe from harm.

Soon after the update was released on 8 August, users began complaining that patched versions of IE on those systems began crashing when visiting web sites that use HTTP 1.1 compression. That's bad enough in itself but a closer investigation of the issue by security experts revealed the bug could be used to inject hostile code into critical systems. Worse still, Microsoft's original advisory gave hackers handy clues on how to exploit the problem.

Microsoft accelerated the development of a fix for its misbehaving patch, which was still worth applying because it resolved more issue than it created. This hotfix, original promised for Tuesday, was eventually released on Thursday. So the time has come for sys-admins to re-apply the patch.

"The revised version of MS06-042 released on 24 August fully resolves the security vulnerability discussed in Microsoft Security Advisory 923762 and addresses the issues discovered prior to release," Microsoft said in a statement accompanying the release. "Microsoft is not aware of any active attacks against customers using any of the vulnerabilities associated with MS06-042." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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