In a change of heart, Microsoft has announced that versions of Internet Explorer that are still being used by Windows XP will indeed get a security patch to fix a recently discovered exploit in the web browser.
In a blog post, Microsoft said the patch will be released later today for all supported versions of IE (6-11). The patch will be delivered via Automatic Update but users can choose to download the patch manually when it becomes available. The post added:
We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1. Additionally, customers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer, IE 11.
The post doesn't give a specific reason why Microsoft decided to break from its plans to not offer any more updates to the 12 year old operating system since it ended support for XP on April 8. Microsoft's security team will hold a webcast at 11 am Pacific time (2 pm Eastern time) Friday where more information about the patch will be made available.
The exploit itself was first revealed last week and would have allowed for hackers "to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer" if they surf to a website coded to take advantage of the browser hole.
Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft