Update: Microsoft Has Found A Fix For The Internet Explorer Bug That Made Users Vulnerable To Attacks

May 2, 2014  |  

Update:   Microsoft has announced a fix for the bug that prompted the Department of Homeland Security to caution people against using the browser. From USA Today:

The fix updates the computers of all users of the Windows operating system who have automatic updates turned on, the company said on its security response page.

For those that don’t have the updates enabled, “now is the time,” wrote Dustin Childs, with the response communications team at Microsoft.

To turn it on, users should click on the “Check for Updates” button on the Windows Update portion of the Control Panel.

The solution has already been sent to users.

An outside computer security company Saturday by FireEye detected that hackers had infiltrated IE and had been attacking users for private corporate information.

Update written by Tonya Garcia

Original story published April 29

Due to a security breach, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning Americans to stop using Internet Explorer (IE), USA Today reports. But you’ve got to wonder, who really even uses IE anymore?

FireEye Research Labs, a California-based internet software company, discovered the bug on Saturday. But even before the security flaw was found, Americans had moved on from Internet Explorer — only 9.7 percent of internet surfers use IE, as of March 2014. “Internet Explorer is a brower past its shelf-life and should be discontinued,” CreativeCubeCompany says.

Google Chrome takes the crown as the most-used browser by 57.8 percent of internet users.

“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a post Monday morning. The department suggests users go elsewhere at least until the security hole is closed.

According to CNNMoney:

This is how it works: Hackers set up a website that installs malware when you visit it. If you’re duped into visiting the website while using the Internet Explorer program, malware seeps into your computer and gives a stranger total control. You might not even notice.

“I’d say someone taking control of your computer is just the beginning of the worst case scenario,” said Adrian Sanabria, a security expert 451Research.com. “Because then they steal your info, get access to your email, etc.”

That’s where the real danger lies. Anyone in control of your computer can spy on everything you do. If it’s a PC at work, hackers can reach into anything an employee has access to.

Though a small share of us internet surfers actually use IE, CNNMoney reminds us that the browser is more prevalent than we think. “Lots of machines use Windows — bank ATMs, point of sale systems, restaurant seating tools — and Internet Explorer is their default browser,” the site says.

Until Microsoft gets its act together, you’ll need to protect yourself. The first tip, according to Time, is obvious — make the switch to Google Chrome or Firefox. They’re much less susceptible to vulnerability. Second, don’t click on suspicious emails or links. Lastly, install Microsoft’s Toolkit, a software that automatically protects users from exploitation.

“We are working closely with FireEye to investigate this report of a vulnerability,” Microsoft assures.

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