Avoid Using IE Until Bug Fixed
Microsoft warned consumers on April 26, 2014 that a security vulnerability in its popular Internet Explorer browser could let hackers gain access to their computer. The bug affects Internet Explorer version 6 through 11. Until Microsoft issues a patch, I strongly advise you to avoid using Internet Explorer.
What Other Browsers Can You Use?
There are a number of other web browsers that you can download for free:
Does This Affect Me?
Probably. According to NetMarketShare, Microsoft Internet Explorer holds more than half the worldwide global browser market.
Windows XP Impact
The issue is especially serious for people who are still using the Windows XP operating system, because Microsoft ended official support for that operating system earlier this month. That means that there will be no more official security updates or bug fixes for Windows XP. This bug is the first major security flaw to affect Windows XP since Microsoft stopped supporting it.
Unofficial estimates say that about 30 percent of all desktop computers are still running Windows XP. If you are still running Windows XP, Microsoft recommends that you upgrade to a newer operating system.
IE Security Bug Details
According to Microsoft’s Security Advisory:
- The vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.”
- An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
- In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a website that contains a webpage that is used to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit these websites. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message or Instant Messenger message that takes users to the attacker’s website.
Please give us a call at 434-882-7638 if you have any concerns or questions about the security of your web browser or website.