A New, Serious Internet Explorer Security Hole – Switch Browsers NOW!

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ESET Smart Security, the tech security product I’ve used for years and love. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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It’s going to be a quick post today, because there’s really not much more for me to say than this:

If you’re currently using ANY version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, STOP TODAY and SWITCH TO A DIFFERENT BROWSER.

A major security flaw has been found in ALL versions of IE, and it’s a VERY bad one. A hacker who exploits the hole can take full control of your computer’s file system without your knowledge. It’s not something that’s likely to be ‘noticed’ by your antivirus software until after the damage is done, unfortunately, because it doesn’t install anything at first: it just enables a hacker to grant him- or herself full rights to everything on your computer. There’s an exception for LINUX machines, but since most consumers don’t run LINUX it’s not really worth going into details on that.

As this article from The Verge explains, while Microsoft is working on a security update and will probably have something to release within a couple weeks or less, in the meantime you’re putting your computer at risk every time you use Internet Explorer.

Two good alternatives are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, both of which are free to download and run on both Windows and Mac computers.

If you absolutely cannot use a different browser for some reason, you can change your Internet Explorer security settings to Enhanced Protected Mode. This change will severely limit the types of content you can see and use online, but you can always add sites you use frequently and trust to the ‘Trusted Sites’ list, and you should only have to tolerate Enhanced Protected Mode for a couple of weeks. To change to Enhanced Protected Mode:

To change security settings, you must open Internet Explorer in administrator mode. To open Internet Explorer in administrator mode, right-click the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop screen, and then click ‘Run as administrator’.

1. In IE, click on the Settings gear icon to open the Settings menu drop-down box.

2. Click on Internet Options.

3. In the Internet Options dialog, click on the Advanced tab.

4. In the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Security list and click to place a checkmark next to Enable Enhanced Protected Mode (click or tap on image to view an enlarged version in a new window):

5. Click OK to save your changes.

You must restart your computer for changes to take effect. When the time comes to turn off Enhanced Protected Mode, just repeat these steps and un-check the same box.

 

DO NOT PUT THIS OFF! I’m not one to raise unnecessary alarms or hype up things that are actually nothing to worry about, but this one is serious.

 

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And now…

ESET Smart Security is the preferred antivirus/security software of many tech professionals, including me, but it’s very easy to use and is designed with non-techie consumers in mind. I’ve been using it for over five years, and in all that time I’ve never had a security breach or malware problem. Better yet, ESET software is currently being offered at a discount of up to 70% off on Amazon. A 1-user version is currently on sale for $18 (70% off), and the 3-user version is currently priced at just $33 (59% off), both for a full 1-year subscription that includes all updates. I regularly spend $69 a year to renew my 3-user ESET subscription (and I think it’s totally worth the money, even at that price), so this is a great deal.

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2 Comments

  1. Comment by Cindy Fuchs:

    I have Windows 8.1 and ran Norton on a brand new computer 2 months ago and 2 weeks after we bought the computer we were hacked. The tech said we couldn’t run Norton because it’s not compatible and just run Microsoft Security. I’m not comfortable with that. What are your thoughts? After I read the issues with IE, I installed Chrome.

    • Comment by Mom:

      Cindy –
      I use and recommend ESET Smart Security. It’s a popular security solution among tech pros, but it’s designed for consumers. One caveat: if you’ve still got any part of Norton or any other security/antivirus program on your machine, it must be fully uninstalled before you install ESET. Here’s my post with more information about why I am very much against Norton and MacAfee, and why I recommend ESET:
      McAfee Is For Muggles And Norton Is For Naifs

      You can get ESET direct from eset.com or from Amazon.