1 MAY 2014 – Since the news broke about the Microsoft Internet Explorer bug various websites and news services have published ways to protect yourself. My first recommendation is that you immediately switch to another web browser. If you don’t have another browser on your computer go to Google.com or Firefox.com to download one or both of those browsers. Both are free. The Department of Homeland Security has recommended you do this and stay with an alternative browser until Microsoft issues a patch to correct the issue. Another suggestion, if you are using Windows XP you need to update your operating system. XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and no security patches will be issued for that OS. Here are a few of the recommendations from other sites.
From ABCNews.com; Bill Carey, Vice President of marketing at Siber Systems suggests,
Update Your Software
Make sure you’re current on your software updates so any security loopholes are closed. People using the 12-year-old Windows XP operating system are especially vulnerable since Microsoft announced earlier this month it would no long provide technical assistance and automatic updates to protect users’ PCs. Consider upgrading your operating system.
Close Your Browser
When you’re done with using a website, log off and close your browser. This will help prevent others from gaining access to your account.
Control Your E-Mail
Have a disposable e-mail address. Only give your actual e-mail address out to who people who need it. Carey said this will help you avoid mass spam and keep your inbox clean.
Have A Strong Password
Carey advises using a “keystroke” method for making passwords and creating a “keyboard mapping system.” One key to the left and one up would make the password “tinmen” change to “47gh2g.”
Disable E-Mail Photos
Disable pictures on your email and read it in plain text. The sender will not be able to identify if you have opened the e-mail.
ORIGINAL POST : A report by FireEye indicates that a serious bug in the Microsoft Internet Explorer could allow your computer to be taken over by hackers. Researchers have discovered that hackers have exploited the bug and created a new type of attack.
How does it work? Hackers have set up a website that installs malware when you visit it; commonly known as a drive by download. (See terminology) If you visit the website while using the Internet Explorer browser malware downloads into your computer and gives a stranger total control. Your computer may become a bot or part of a botnet and you would never know it. That means a hacker has total control of your computer and can access your files, steal passwords and spy on you. If you are at work then the hacker has access to everything you have access to do. How serious is this? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended that people ditch Internet Explorer until there’s a patch.
But that is not the only problem. This bug is everywhere. A lot of computers use Windows including your bank’s ATM and point of sales systems in stores everywhere. This bug is dangerous because it affects every version of the web browser from IE6 through IE11. That’s more than half of the browsers in use right now, according to the analysis website NetMarketShare. People still using Windows XP are especially vulnerable since Microsoft no longer supports that OS and does not issue security patches for it.
Microsoft issued a security bulletin stating, “On completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers.”
This attack relies on a few of Internet Explorer’s extra features. So you will need to disable them until Microsoft issues a patch. FireEye advises users to disable the Adobe Flash plugin. Microsoft engineers also suggest running your browser in the “Enhanced Protect Mode.” However experts say that will likely ruin your online experience. So the next logical move would be to use an alternate browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Apple Safari. But you need more knowledge than just switching browsers . Try the excellent article from Time.com to protect yourself.
Breaking It Down
Here is why you should always have an alternative browser on your computer. Nearly black person I know uses Internet Explorer, except me. Its the default browser on so many computers that its almost impossible to avoid. As matter of fact I’ll bet not many black people know of any other browser by name. Now is the time to correct that. I use Google Chrome and I am very happy with it.
These bugs are ubiquitous. There is not a piece of software made that a hacker will not discover some way to crack into and use for their own purposes. This bug is serious because every computer in the world use Microsoft software. Almost every ATM uses Windows XP and very few banks have switched over to something else even though Microsoft says they’re on their own with it. I suggest you call your bank and ask them what they plan to do about this. It is your money you know. But when was the last time the Department of Homeland Security urged you to dump a browser? I don’t remember ever. So now you know you how serious this is.