Microsoft forces IM upgrades

Mandatory upgrade of millions of MSN Messenger users is meant to plug vulnerability.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
Microsoft on Friday forced its millions of MSN Messenger users to download a new version of the software to plug a vulnerability discovered earlier this week. The mandatory upgrade began early Friday morning after a security company posted a how-to guide describing how the vulnerability can attack computers. MSN Messenger users were then greeted with a notice to upgrade before they could open their instant messaging clients.

The moves come after Microsoft on Tuesday released a series of software patches to plug a series of "critical" weaknesses in a handful of products including Office XP, Internet Explorer 6, Windows Media Player and MSN Messenger. Microsoft was planning on asking Messenger users to upgrade over a longer period of time, but once the security posting went public the company decided to upgrade all users at once, a company representative said.