While the gadget world is busy reporting on all the latest gadgets and gizmos that will be appearing over the next year in Las Vegas, Microsoft has rushed a patch out to correct a problem that could give hackers access over your desktop.

In a statement on the website, Microsoft announced that it would release a security update to help protect customers from exploitations of a vulnerability in the Windows Meta File (WMF) area of code in the Windows operating system, in response to malicious and criminal attacks on computer users that were discovered last week.

“Microsoft originally planned to release the update on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006, as part of its regular monthly release of security bulletins, after testing for quality and application compatibility was complete. However, testing has been completed earlier than anticipated and the update is ready for release”.

“In addition, Microsoft is releasing the update early in response to strong customer sentiment that the release should be made available as soon as possible”.

The WMF flaw has been the focus of a so-called zero-day exploit - malicious code that took advantage of the hole in the operating system and that either showed users the announcement "Congratulations, you've been infected!" before taking over their machines or worked silently in the background seeding the PC with spyware and adware.

Consumer customers who use Automatic Updates will receive the update automatically, however consumers can also manually download and deploy the update by visiting Microsoft Update or Windows Update.