As far as internet browsers go, Internet Explorer has a bad reputation. Some might think this bad reputation is undeserved. After all, what did poor Windows do to deserve such hatred?
But any time we start feeling bad for Internet Explorer, we’re reminded why it earned the title of “world’s worst major internet browser.” We were reminded once again today as Microsoft urgently patched a serious flaw with Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8.
That flaw allows any hackers to execute malicious code when visitors click on a website. All you have to do is visit a website in order for the hackers to install malicious code on your system. Once the malicious code executes its commands, hackers can take full control of machines.
The exploit was posted online and apparently used by thousands of people across networks of hacking and underground computing websites.
The problem with Microsoft’s response
Microsoft’s response to the attack was to tell users to upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer – something that Microsoft has been recommending for years. But unfortunately, those who had already been infected were not able to upgrade or perform any security-related commands on their computers, which posed serious problems for users.
The good part about Microsoft’s response
Normally, Microsoft releases important security patches on the first Tuesday of every month. Techies have even gone so far as to dub that date ‘Patch Tuesday’. But Microsoft broke free of its scheduling cycle and released the Internet Explorer update immediately to all Windows users, which at least helped those who could still connect to the internet and Windows Update.
Still using old versions of Internet Explorer? Stop immediately
If your version of Internet Explorer does not look like this:
Then you should stop using your browser immediately. The only thing you should do with an old version of Internet Explorer is go to chrome.google.com or firefox.com to download the latest version of either of those alternative browsers. Otherwise, it’s just too risky to browse the wide open internet using Internet Explorer.
New exploits are being found with old versions of IE every day. And these exploits aren’t small problems – like an inability to run Flash or a usability issue. Instead, they’re full-blown security risks that allow hackers to steal your information and take full control of any system. Be careful.
Internet Explorer 10 is still good…for now
So far, Internet Explorer 10 has had nothing but rave reviews. It seems like Microsoft’s promise to turn the brand name around has actually been somewhat successful. So if you’re using IE10, your computer should be fairly secure.
But if you’re using older versions of Internet Explorer, uninstall them immediately. There are too many security exploits to make it worthwhile and nobody wants to deal with identity theft.
To download Internet Explorer 10 for free, visit the official Microsoft website.