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False security alarm from Microsoft

Microsoft sends out enough security alerts to worry about, but the one it sent Wednesday night can be disregarded.

At about 8.30 pm Microsoft sounded the security alarm. The software maker sent out notices to users of Microsoft Alerts that new security bulletins had been published. However, there were no new bulletins on the company's security Web site.

"An alert was erroneously sent last night due to a minor publishing issue," a Microsoft representative said Thursday. " We are investigating the issue to help us avoid this situation in the future."

It appears only users of MSN Alerts received the notice. MSN Alerts is a service that sends messages through MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger, e-mail, or to cell phones. Microsoft promotes the service on its security Web pages so users can quickly get notified of the latest updates.

Microsoft typically only releases security bulletins on the second Tuesday of each month. The company only releases a bulletin on a different day if there is a security emergency.

Microsoft's security bulletins provide information on vulnerabilities in the company's products and include a software fix. The next "patch Tuesday" is on Oct. 11.

If the alert interrupted your evening, Microsoft apologizes, the representative said. (If the alert did interrupt your dinner, TV night or sleep, I'd love to hear about it.)