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Microsoft reveals final Windows XP update before support ends on 8 April

Windows XP

A critical flaw in Windows XP will be patched before Microsoft pulls the plug on it for good

The last security update for Windows XP will fix major vulnerabilities that allow hackers to remotely execute malicious code on computers.

Four security updates will be issued, two of them “critical”, Microsoft’s highest vulnerability severity rating, with the other two rated “important”, the second highest.

Microsoft said all four vulnerabilities were related to “remote code execution”, meaning that hackers could hijack a PC. One of the security warnings affects all versions of Windows, while another will affect XP users running Internet Explorer.

An update for Word is also being issued. It affects all versions of the software, including Word 2003. Like Windows XP support for Office 2003 also ends on 8 April 2014. The so-called zero-day vulnerability found in Word has been exploited in the wild, meaning hackers are already targeting the security flaw.

Details of the security issues are from Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday update for 8 April 2014. This is the final time that any Windows XP or Office 2003 updates will be included in Patch Tuesday.

Despite the end of Windows XP support looming, it is estimated that 27.7 per cent of the world’s computers still use it. Many security flaws uncovered in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 may also apply to Windows XP, with hackers potentially able to use Microsoft’s own security updates to find new ways of exploiting the ageing operating system.

Still using Windows XP? Our in-depth guide has all the advice and information you need.

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