US, UK Governments Say Avoid Internet Explorer

A number of news outlets are reporting that the US and UK governments have issued a warning advising users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser to stop using it for now due to a major vulnerability.

There are a number of alternative web browsers available, including Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Both of them have mobile versions and the ability to synchronize bookmarks, add-ons, and other data with multiple devices.

Media are linking this to the End of Support for Windows XP but this appears to be unrelated, as Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 are affected by this vulnerability. Windows XP supports Internet Explorer only up to version 8. This does mean, however, that any fix for the problem will not be applied to Windows XP, so it is best to use an alternate browser until XP systems can be upgraded.

No word yet on how long it will take for a fix to be released for newer versions of Windows.

Vulnerability Found in Older Internet Explorer Versions, Fix Available

Microsoft has issued an advisory warning of a 0-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 that could allow malicious code to be executed on a victim’s computer as soon as they visit a compromised web site. More recent versions of Internet Explorer are not affected.

Symantec describes the means of infection as a “watering hole” attack as it involves exploiting a site the victim is likely to visit.

A temporary fix has been made available until a permanent one can be prepared for Windows Update. While the effect appears to be limited to the United States at present, it would be a good idea to apply the fix if you are still running Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8. Microsoft has also recommended upgrading Internet Explorer to version 9 or 10, but Windows XP does not support these versions.