If you have not already heard this news, refrain from using Internet Explorer right away. Use Chrome or Firefox – you may already have them installed on your PCs; if not you can download/install them directly from the browser source: Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/chrome, Firefox: http://www.firefox.com/
Then come back and read on. This is a serious threat confirmed by the US Dept. of Homeland Security and Microsoft.
The flaw, which affects Internet Explorer versions 6 and up, allows hackers to gain complete access to a PC via a malicious website. Dubbed “Operation Clandestine Fox” by the security firm FireEye, the threat is real and very dangerous.
“An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”
Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 are affected in this warning, though they are mostly targeting versions 9-11.
US Department of Homeland Security recommends that users or administrators “enable Microsoft EMET (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit) where possible” and to “consider employing an alternative web browser until an official update is available.” Read more: DHS warns against using Internet Explorer until the bug is patched.
Microsoft posted an updated advisory on April 29, 2014, but it may be difficult to implement for some users.
Practical Advice: A true patch to resolve this IE threat may not come around until May 13th, 2014 – or later. Until then, we highly recommend that you:
- remove Internet Explorer (IE) shortcut from your taskbar and change the default browser to something else, so you don’t accidentally click on the icon or HTML shortcut and trigger the IE., or
- uninstall IE altogether (recommended)
Going forward you may choose to completely discontinue the use of Internet Explorer and use alternative browsers.
Please, check – you may already have them installed on your PCs, if not you can download/install them directly from the browser source:
If you need help with this, please contact us. We are always happy to assist, especially when it comes to keeping data and information safe.