The company has issued software that fixes a glitch in the Internet Explorer 4.5 Web browser that may have made shopping via the Net in the new year a risky proposition.
As previously reported, the security problem was ready to come into play when a user's digital security certificate--the electronic credentials included in a browser that vouch for the identity of a user--expire at the end of the year.
If the patch isn't applied, some users won't be able to shop or pass information along in a secure fashion, Microsoft said, and they'll see a warning message.
After midnight, Dec. 31, users of Explorer 4.5 for the Mac who are trying to shop on some Web sites may get this message: "Unable to establish a secure connection. The information you view and send will be readable to others while in transit, and it may not go to the intended party. Continue loading this page?"
Microsoft said the user has the option of continuing or stopping the connection. If a user gets the message, they should go to Microsoft's Web site to get the appropriate software fix.
Warning messages are mainly displayed to encourage people to upgrade their browsers to newer versions that have bug fixes and improvements in security, Microsoft executives have said.