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Explorer security update released

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft is releasing a security update for Internet Explorer that closes a gap that allowed attackers to take complete control of a computer. It also issued the update to Windows XP users, despite dropping support for the older operating system last month.

The update went live at 10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday.

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Adrienne Hall, general manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said in a statement that the company decided to fix the problem quickly for all customers, saying it takes the security of its products ‘‘incredibly seriously.’’

Microsoft reported the problem Saturday, saying it was aware of ‘‘limited, targeted attacks’’ and that the vulnerability affected Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11.

The company said users with automatic updates enabled don’t need to take any action.

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