Microsoft plans to issue a critical security patch next Tuesday that is designed to fix a graphics Windows flaw that came to light over the Christmas period.
The flaw allows attackers to take over a user’s machine by distributing specially crafted files from malicious websites.
The problem relates to the way Windows handles graphics in the Windows Metafile format (WMF). When a computer opens a maliciously crafted WMF file, the machine can be forced to execute arbitrary code.
Microsoft published its first security advisory on the problem on 28 December after receiving notification of the flaw the previous day.
This week, the company said it had developed a patch and was planning to release it next Tuesday (10 January) as part of its scheduled monthly patching cycle.
Some independent security researchers have publicised their own fix to the problem on the internet, but Microsoft has urged users to wait for the official patch next week.
However, security software companies are warning that despite the small chance of running into a malicious WMF file, the incidences of infection are steadily rising among users.