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Microsoft IE Flaw in CyberAttack

Jan 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Articles

The NYTimes reported that McAfee, the big security software maker, says that a security flaw in Microsoft Internet Explorer was a factor in the Chinese cyberattacks on the Gmail of Chinese activists. An excerpt from the article follows:

In a blog post on Thursday afternoon, McAfee said that after examining the malicious software code used in the attacks, it believes a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was an important pathway for the attacks, which were directed at Google and more than 30 other companies:

These attacks will look like they come from a trusted source, leading the target to fall for the trap and clicking a link or file. That’s when the exploitation takes place, using the vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Once the malware is downloaded and installed, it opens a back door that allows the attacker to perform reconnaissance and gain complete control over the compromised system. The attacker can now identify high value targets and start to siphon off valuable data from the company.

I urge you to take a look at Firefox security, and to download Firefox 3.5. It will not overwrite your Internet Explorer files, and it works fine with my online banking. Finally! It was really weird when I had to use the world’s least secure web browser, Internet Explorer, for my online financial transactions. Luckily, the financial community caught up with the times.

The German Government’s Federal Office for Information Security has officially advised web users to find an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer according to Sitepoint.com because of the same vulnerability involved in the Chinese attacks on Gmail.

My statistics show that only about 60% of visitors to my websites are using Internet Explorer. Firefox is gaining rapidly. I actually use Opera as my default browser because it is standards compliant, very fast, very secure, and (ahem) rather cool. Anything from Norway is cool. Opera is usually the leader with new features, such as tabbed browsing and being able to open or close a tab right from the tab bar. They were the first to offer a blank page start populated with screen shots of your most frequently visited sites. And they were founded by the guy who invented CSS. How smart is he?

Opera’s main business strategy is to provide a browser that operates across devices, platforms and operating systems, and can deliver a faster, more stable and flexible Internet experience than its competitors. Bottom line — make Firefox or Opera your default browser. Anything but IE!

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  1. Isn’t it interesting that Google has banned Microsoft Windows for their employees, except with permission of a CIO level executive. Google employees are expected to use Mac (which is linux based) or linux. Why? Security vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows.

  2. I had been having lots of problems with Internet Explorer not behaving well and someone suggested that I switch to Firefox. I was reluctant to switch because I thought that it would require some kind of learning curve. Well I am not a tech newbie, having to learn something new often puts me out of sorts.

    What I discovered was that installing Firefox took just a few minutes and that the issues that I had with IE pretty much went away. I still have occasional issues but Firefox has a restore function that is amazing.

    The difference between Internet Explorer and Firefox is like the difference between driving a Ford Fiesta and a BMW. They’ll both get you where you want to go but they do it in a very different style.

    Using Firefox is great, and now I know that my resistance to doing so was completely unfounded. I didn’t have to learn anything and Firefox is much smarter, more capable and sleeker than Internet Explorer. You might just want to give it a drive.

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