MPs urged to update computer software as major flaw is found

Government agency urged computer users to patch code to fix flaw in popular open-source operating system Firefox

The Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team is warning computer users to patch software code found to have an “extremely critical vulnerability”.

The agency described it as one of the most “significant vulnerabilities identified in Firefox in its 7 years of existence”. It published a version of the code to fix the flaw in June.

The vulnerability exposes Windows and Linux computers to hackers who may be able to view or tamper with files. It was initially discovered by an academic researcher at the University of Maryland.

Due to the continued public release of the vulnerability after a basic fix, the advisory advises that users of Firefox, the most widely used open-source operating system, make sure to install the fixes “instantly”.

More than 140m people around the world use Mozilla’s popular browser.

“Users of Mozilla Firefox and all others that have been affected by this vulnerability should immediately update their operating systems with current security updates to block this exploit,” the advisory reads.

The flaw only affects portions of the code used for various antivirus programs. Microsoft’s Windows and Microsoft Office and Google’s Chrome and Google Chrome are also vulnerable to the breach.

Users of Mozilla’s Android operating system were not affected by the vulnerability, the Department of Homeland Security said.

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