Microsoft admits 'critical' flaw
Date 11-Feb-2004 0:18:15
Topic: Miscellaneous News
|Microsoft has warned that a "critical" flaw in the latest versions of its Windows operating system could allow hackers to access a person's computer.|
In its monthly security bulletin, the world's largest software maker said Windows versions NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003 were affected.
Giving the problem its highest security rating of "critical", Microsoft has called on users to download a software repairing patch free from its website.
This is said to cure the problem.
The flaw is also said to be completely unconnected with the latest clutch of computer viruses currently causing problems around the world.
It could however allow hackers to quietly break into someone's computer to steal files, delete data, or eavesdrop on what that user is doing.
Marc Maiffret of eEye Digital Security, the US company that discovered the Windows flaw, said it was a major issue.
"This is one of the most serious Microsoft vulnerabilities ever released," said Mr Maiffret.
"The breadth of systems affected is probably the largest ever."
He added: "This is something that will let you get into internet servers, internal networks, pretty much any system."
Microsoft security executive Stephen Toulouse urged users to download the free upgrades.
He said the problem software was "an extremely deep and pervasive technology in Windows".
Craig Schmugar, a virus research manager at US computer firm Network Associations, recommended that people install the patches "as soon as possible".
Microsoft's disclosure comes just weeks before chairman Bill Gates is to deliver a keynote speech at a key computer security conference in San Francisco.