So it seems these past times have brought a cascading amount of newly discovered security threats all over the web. Microsoft was also part of the mix with a vulnerability found in Internet Explorer allowing attackers to take control of your PC.
The exploit was used against U.S. defense and financial firms among other important targets. The U.S. government themselves released a statement asking all web users to avoid using Internet Explorer until further notice of the security bug being patched by Microsoft.
How did the cyber criminals use Internet Explorer to hack computers?
The browsers known to have had the bug we’re versions 6 to 11 and most reports targeted versions 9 and up. Many malicious websites had been set up with the goal to exploit the security flaw and by installing malware in stealth, allowing them from there to have backdoor control over the user’s computer. The victims would not doubt that malware had been installed as the script was able to run without the user having to click anywhere. The mere action of falling on one of those websites, was enough to infect the user.
So, what do you need to know to stay safe from attackers taking over your machine and personal data?
Microsoft have release a fix 2 days ago for Internet Explorer and decided to include the no longer supported Windows XP in the mix due to the severity of the problem. If you run Windows XP, we still highly suggest you upgrade to a newer version and if you are not ready for Windows 8, the 7 version is a fantastic operating system and runs very smoothly on 64bit.
Having your automatic updates on would ensure that the fix be already downloaded and installed. But if you are the type to do manual updates, now is very important, especially if you plan to continue using Internet Explorer.
How to install the Microsoft Internet Explorer bug fix update?
If you are running Windows XP, you should know that support from Microsoft ended over a month ago and that patching Internet Explorer was an exception that many criticized as being a backwards step. Sticking with an old, unsupported operating system is risky, as many cyber criminals will now target those old systems for vulnerabilities, knowing security work is no longer present.
However, if you can’t upgrade right away, ensure you update to the latest XP service pack, download and install all updates to ensure the fix is applied.
Additionally, all Windows version users should download and install Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) to raise security against attackers attempting to gain control of the computer.
To be frank, we highly suggest you still change web browsers. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox both offer superior browsing security. Security firms alike agree that Internet Explorer is not up to par with Google’s new security technology. Mozilla Firefox continues to grow better with an unstoppable open source force behind it, and is said to be the best in terms of privacy. A combination of both is also a popular pick, but whatever the choice, they remain better for online browsing security.
If you insist on using IE, then please think about a VPN for your windows machine.