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updated 9/21/2012 3:49:33 PM ET 2012-09-21T19:49:33

Four days after Microsoft learned of a nasty Internet Explorer flaw that malware writers had already begun to exploit, the company pushed out a permanent software patch.

"This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Internet Explorer 9 on Windows clients and Moderate for Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Internet Explorer 9 on Windows servers," a Microsoft security bulletin published today (Sept. 21) read.

The flaw left Internet Explorer users vulnerable to drive-by downloads and affected all currently supported versions of Windows.

Windows 8, due to be released to the general public Oct. 26, and its accompanying browser, Internet Explorer 10, are not affected.

Windows users who have automatic updating turned on will get the patch without any effort. For those who don't, Microsoft urges them to deploy Windows Update manually.

Microsoft posted "fix it" workaround software Wednesday that temporarily deactivated the flaw. Today's permanent patch overrides the "fix it," which does not itself need to be disabled or uninstalled before the patch is installed.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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