Microsoft is releasing an update to its Internet Explorer browser to fix a security problem that could expose personal computers to hacking attacks.
A permanent repair to the security flaw will be released Friday. Microsoft Corp. began offering a temporary patch for the problem Wednesday on a part of its website set up for technical issues.
The permanent solution to the problem will be automatically installed on PCs running on Microsoft's Windows operating system if the machine is set up to receive important updates. The temporary repair requires clicking on a link.
Microsoft Corp., which is based in Redmond, Wash., is urging PC users who haven't enabled their machines for automatic updates to retrieve and install the permanent patch as soon as possible Friday.
Although Microsoft says "the vast majority" of users have not been bit by the security bug, the potential for trouble prompted a German technology agency to advise using other Web browsers besides Internet Explorer.
Once the dominant Web browser, Internet Explorer has been losing market share in recent years to Google's Chrome, Apple Inc.'s Safari and Mozilla's Firefox.
At least one research firm maintains that Chrome eclipsed Internet Explorer as the world's most popular browser earlier this year. Other measures still rate Internet Explorer as the market leader.
Google Inc., one of Microsoft's fiercest rivals, touts Chrome as a faster and safer alternative to Internet Explorer.
Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, will release a new version of Internet Explorer along with a dramatic overhaul of Windows on Oct. 26.
Microsoft's security advisory and patch: