We’d like to warn everyone to be very careful when using Internet Explorer at the moment, particularly if you’re still running Windows XP.
A security issue has been discovered which affects Internet Explorer version 6 through to version 11 and allows hackers to run code on your PC remotely if “users visit a malicious website with an affected browser. This would typically occur by an attacker convincing someone to click a link in an email or instant message,” explains Dustin Childs, a group manager of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Department.
The flaw affects people using Internet Explorer on all current Windows Operating systems – from XP through to Windows 8. Microsoft have released a toolkit called the “Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit” which won’t fix the flaw but adds several layers of protection to help minimise your risk.
Unfortunately, Windows XP users aren’t likely to see a fix anytime soon as the operating system is no longer supported. The US Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends that all windows users and administrators enable Microsoft EMET where possible and consider employing an alternative web browser until an official update is available”.
There are other potential workarounds suggested by Microsoft, which include setting Internet security levels to “High” or switching on the browser’s Enhanced Protected Mode. These precautions will certainly help but if security is a big concern for you, it may be worth switching to another browser until the problem is definitively fixed.
Here’s the link to Microsoft’s EMET patch, although it’s important to be aware that you shouldn’t install this without your administrator’s knowledge (and only then if you have had experience with these types of fixes): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41138
For more detailed information, read about this here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/27/oops_we_did_it_again_microsoft_warns_of_ie_zero_day/ or here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2615209/US-Government-issues-major-warning-Internet-Explorer-bug-say-hackers-ALREADY-exploiting-it.html
If you’re not sure whether this issue affects you or don’t know how best to fix the problem, speak to your IT support department, or drop us a line. We’d love to offer advice on keeping your networks and PC’s safe.