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Microsoft Scrambles to Release new Win 8.1 Update and Battles IE Security Flaw

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 2/05/2014 Michael L. Berman

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

It seems that's become the Boys from Redmond's motto as they prepare to roll out yet another update for Windows 8. This will be the second major update for what it dubbed Windows 8.1 since February, but will it be the last before Microsoft debuts the much anticipated (at least by me) Windows 9?

Actually this new update may be more appropriately call a Windows 9 Preview due to the fact it contains many of the features announced when Win 9 was introduced earlier this year.

So, what exactly will be included with this new upgrade? Although there's been no official proclamation from Redmond, various websites have speculated on rumors of what it may contain, including:

  • A Windows 7-style start menu (where have we heard that before?)

  • Metro apps will be able to run in their own environment inside a desktop window

Both of these should be well-received by Windows users - - - especially those still using mice and keyboards. But these and other enhancements should have been part of the original Windows 8 operating system.

The Boys from Redmond are also battling what has become known as a Zero-Day attack that exposes users of Internet Explorer 6 through 11 to hackers.

According to the folks at Symantec, "Zero-day vulnerabilities are vulnerabilities against which no vendor has released a patch. The absence of a patch for a zero-day vulnerability presents a threat to organizations and consumers alike, because in many cases these threats can evade purely signature-based detection until a patch is released. The unexpected nature of zero-day threats is a serious concern, especially because they may be used in targeted attacks and in the propagation of malicious code."

Microsoft has issued a fix which will be pushed through to all (yes, even those using XP) versions of Windows. The Boys from Redmond previously recommended a minor work-around which may -- or may not -- protect your computer. One thing is guaranteed, though: the work around suggested by Microsoft may prevent you from visiting some of your favorite websites.

The first, and easiest "fix," according to Microsoft, is to run 64-bit versions of IE 10 and 11 in Enhanced Protected Mode, which can be enabled in the Internet Options Settings menu.

The other option is to download version 4.1 of the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) from the TechNet Security TechCenter or directly from Microsoft.

Take note that these are just temporary fixes to reduce the vulnerability of IE and aren't actual security updates for the browser.

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