Storms dismissed the idea that Microsoft had run out of bugs to fix in IE, which according to Web metrics company Net Applications is used by more of the world's online population than any other, with a user share in January of 58.2%.
The lack of an IE update and the light load — just five updates, following only four last month — made him wonder if Microsoft's security and patching teams had taken a long vacation at the end of 2013. If so, it would have been a departure from the norm: In January 2013, Microsoft released 8 updates, with another 12 in February 2013.
Microsoft will have one more chance to patch bugs in IE before the Pwn2Own hacking contest starts next month. Pwn2Own, co-sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Google, plans to give $100,000 to the first researcher or team able to compromise IE11 on a Windows 8.1-powered PC. An even larger prize of $150,000 awaits the first to hack the same setup when protected by Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), a utility that manually enables anti-exploit technologies.
Pwn2Own runs March 12-13, while Microsoft's Patch Tuesday for the month is set for March 11.
Microsoft will release next week's security updates on Feb. 11 around 1 p.m. ET.
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