Internet Explorer Freak-Out
Posted on: December 17th, 2008
This morning I got two calls from concerned customers of mine asking whether they are safe or not. Since I haven’t heard of anything special I looked into this. Turns out there’s nothing special about this situation, except for being blown out of proportion.
Internet Explorer is well known to be the least secure browser that you can have. But this is the one that comes with Windows and some 80% of people use it as their main browser (AOL and Yahoo browser are merely customized Internet Explorer windows). This makes it a favorite target for hackers who look for any kind of security loophole.
Most of the security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer (or other browsers) are not very “useful” for hacker because they require user interaction. However a small portion of the security vulnerabilities are such that the malicious code on the websites can bypass the security system of the browser and get it to run its own code. That means just by visiting a so infected site can infect your computer.
There have been dozens of such security holes found in Internet Explorer in the past and probably there will be more. There’s nothing new about this – I guess the news media just needed some more bad news for the day and this one was good enough.
What can be done?
This section is usually missing from the news casts. But I believe it’s just as important as the news itself.
Other articles on this website describe what to do to keep your computer healthy. I just want to reiterate a couple things:
- Have an antivirus and keep it up to date. (AVG is a good choice but it’s up to your preferences which one you use)
A side note: Windows update is a complex system and we regularly run into computers which have not been updated because Windows Update is not functioning. To test this open Internet Explorer and go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com (this is one of the few websites that does require Internet Explorer). If you can go through the update steps here then your system is working correctly. If you get an error messages then you should get your computer checked out because without the critical security updates your computer will be more susceptible to infections. Windows Updates in a very few cases cause issues with other software but that’s not very common at all.
This security flaw in Internet Explorer is not something you should lose sleep on. Make sure that your antivirus is good, have the Windows updates installed and if you can then switch to another browser. And if you need help to make sure your computer is safe then give us a call…
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