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Flaw in Vista software

Speech recognition software contained in Microsoft's Vista OS could leave users PCs' open to attack.

According to reports, an attacker could use the speech recognition system to manipulate a PC with potentially disastrous results.

The reports claim the operating system's feature could be used to pick up on commands relayed through a microphone such as ‘copy', ‘delete' or ‘shutdown'.

"While it is technically possible, there are some things that should be considered when trying to determine the threat of exposure to your Windows Vista system," the software giant said in a posting on its Microsoft Security Response Centre blog.

Microsoft said there were certain conditions that would make an attack more difficult. It said these included having a speech recognition feature previously activated and configured, and having speakers and a microphone installed and turned on.