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NSA discovers security flaw in Windows, Microsoft issues fix

Microsoft says the NSA notified the company about it and a fix was made available.
Credit: AP
FILE - This Aug. 7, 2017, file shows a Microsoft Widows sign on display at a store in Hialeah, Fla. The National Security Agency has discovered a major security flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system. Microsoft says the NSA notified the company about it. A fix was made available Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

The National Security Agency has discovered a major security flaw in Microsoft's Windows operating system. 

Microsoft says the NSA notified the company about it. A fix was made available Tuesday. 

“Customers who have already applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, are already protected,” said Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft, in a statement to the Associated Press.

Some computers will get the update automatically if they have the option turned on. The company says it has not seen any evidence that hackers have used the technique discovered by the NSA.

One expert says this is a good example of the “constructive role” that the NSA can play in improving global information security.

"NSA contributed to addressing this problem by discovering and characterizing the vulnerability, and then sharing with Microsoft quickly and responsibly,' the agency said in a statement.

In addition to making the security fix available, Microsoft also ended support for Windows 7 Tuesday. The company said PC computers running on Windows 7 will still work, but they will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses because they will no longer receive software updates. 

"Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to a new PC running Windows 10 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available," the company said.