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Yahoo Messenger 8.1 released to fix Bug in earlier versions of the IM Software

Yahoo Messenger 8.1 Logo Yesterday, Yahoo announced that it had fixed a bug that existed in earlier versions of Yahoo Messenger, and has released its latest version of Yahoo Messenger 8.1, which fixes the bug. The bug in Yahoo Messenger changed a user’s mail preferences without his or her consent.

When Yahoo Messenger 8.1 was released yesterday, once installed, it automatically installed a Yahoo Mail icon in a user’s system tray, and changed the user’s default mail settings to Yahoo Mail.

However, now that the bug seems to have come into the forefront, Yahoo has stopped issuing prompts to its users to update the Yahoo! Messenger software that is only until they can test in a sufficient manner that the fix for the bug really works. According to Yahoo spokeswoman, Terrell Karlsten, “We’re testing the fix until we can get it behaving the way we want it to behave.”

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According to a security advisory, that was released on Friday by Secunia, the flaws affected versions of Yahoo Messenger 5.0 through 8.0. Yahoo had even alerted more than 73 million of its users all over the world, to download the latest version of Yahoo Messenger, which included free or low cost Pc-to PC calls among its chat features. Even those who were using the Yahoo Messenger Instant Messaging service before November 2, 2006 were alerted by Yahoo to upgrade to the new version.

The security flaw found in earlier versions of Yahoo Messenger was located in the ActiveX control component of Yahoo’s services suite that typically downloads with the Yahoo Messenger installer. This vulnerability could just allow a buffer overflow to occur in the ActiveX control.

For those who are unaware, a buffer overflow takes place when a computer tries to store too much data in a temporary storage area. This often results in a system crash, or may even give the attacker a backdoor access to the user’s system.

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By default, the software also inserts the Yahoo Toolbar into the user’s Web browser and changes the user’s personalized home page and search settings to Yahoo.com. In the original download alert, people could choose to customize the installation under “options” and then uncheck these default settings. What users couldn’t change, however, was that the software was adding a Yahoo Mail icon to the system tray and changed their default mail settings to Yahoo Mail.

Yahoo said that the update in its newest version 8.1, increases the stability and reliability, and even improves security. In fact, the previous Yahoo Messenger software contained a few security flaws that caused other applications, such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to crash, or could even prompt users to be involuntarily logged out.

“The reason why we do a package, bundle everything together, is so people can get the latest version with the security updates and the great new features,” Karlsten said.

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Yahoo also added language to its terms of service related to a new auto-updater practice. In the default setting, Yahoo will automatically download software to the client’s PC whenever it has an update, and then alert the user when to install the software.

If you have not yet received an update alert, you can download Yahoo Messenger 8.1 from messenger.yahoo.com.

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