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Windows Vulnerable to Hack Attacks

December 20, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Microsoft’s newest version of Windows, billed as the most secure ever, contains several serious flaws that allow hackers to steal or destroy a victim’s data files across the Internet or implant rogue computer software. The company released a free fix Thursday.

A Microsoft official acknowledged that the risk to consumers was unprecedented because the glitches allow hackers to seize control of all Windows XP operating system software without requiring a computer user to do anything except connect to the Internet.

Microsoft made available on its Web site a free fix for both home and professional editions of Windows XP and forcefully urged consumers to install it immediately.

The flaws, discovered five weeks ago by independent security researchers, threatened to undermine widespread adoption of Microsoft’s latest Windows software, which many hope will be an economic catalyst for the sagging technology industry.

The company sold more than 7 million copies of Windows XP in the two weeks after it hit stores Oct. 25.

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