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Microsoft Warns of Browser Security Hole

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday warned Windows users who browse the Internet with its Internet Explorer Web browser to be aware of a newly-discovered flaw in the program that could be used by attackers to seize control over affected machines. Microsoft issued the warning because of the severity of the threat, but it has not yet developed a patch to plug the security hole.

The problem resides in every version of IE, including those on Windows machines equipped with Service Pack 2, a massive security update Microsoft released last fall for Windows XP. Microsoft issued the alert just days after security researchers published computer code demonstrating how attackers could exploit the flaw.

Windows users who regularly browse with IE have two options. One is to follow Microsoft's somewhat involved instructions here (you have to click on the blue hyperlink labeled "Workarounds") for tweaking the program's security zones settings. Microsoft acknowledges the downside to this approach: Many sites simply won't work with IE's security settings jacked up to the max.

Alternatively, now may be the perfect time for the other option: sampling a different Web browser. My favorite is Mozilla's Firefox, but there are plenty of choices. In all honesty, Firefox isn't perfect -- but ever since I started using it a little more than a year ago, I haven't looked back, except on occasion when I've had to use IE to download patches from Microsoft's Windows Update site.

By Brian Krebs  |  July 1, 2005; 2:20 PM ET
Categories:  Latest Warnings  
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Next: New Exploit for Unpatched IE Flaw

Comments

RE: Your mention of Firefox. I have been using it about 80% of the time and generally find it excellent (except for the rare site that works properly only with MSIE). There is one small, annoying bug, though, that I wish someone would fix: When you visit a link, it doesn't change color. This is true no matter what your web settings in "colors" are. A small pain, but a real one, and apparently one that has been well-known for a long time.

Posted by: efgoldman | July 1, 2005 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I rely on your judgement 100%. Main reason I subscribe to WP. Agree that Mozilla Firefox is the best alternative to Window's Internet Explorer. Just wish that McAfee would not insist on one's using it for downloads, orders, etc.

Posted by: Constant Reader | July 5, 2005 10:33 AM | Report abuse

When I use Mozilla FireFox and attempt to highlite and copy a URL I get an error msg and it shuts down and I am sent back to my desk top. I am the last thing from a geek and cannot figure out what is going wrong any ideas? Thanks

Posted by: Dale Crakes | July 5, 2005 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Firefox is the best alternative to IE. It's not without flaws though, but I prefer it to IE in that it's not nearly as vulnerable to malicious codes - yet.

Posted by: Dee@RD | July 5, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Firefox is the best alternative to IE. It's not without flaws though, but I prefer it to IE in that it's not nearly as vulnerable to malicious codes - yet.

Posted by: Dee@RD | July 5, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I use two computers one Win98se, the other Linux Fedora Core 4. I restrict my use of Internet Explorer in Windows to very rare times because I feel 99% safer with Firefox or Mozilla on the Linux box. There are two old programs I use on the Windows box which cannot be replaced without a great deal of expense. I have actually been using Mozilla and/or Firefox for several years and, other than an occasional page which is rendered incorrectly, I have had no complaints. Could the improper rendering by Firefox be caused by not adhering to the W3 committee standards by the webmaster?

Posted by: Al Milian | July 5, 2005 12:57 PM | Report abuse

There were times when I was completely frustated and worried that I will never be able to access the web safely because I used catch up new spywares and trojans within a few minutes connecting to net.

But thats all past,things changed when I started using Firefox.Apart from blocking almost all malwares and pop-ups,it has got a useful and simple set of options under the OPTIONS section in TOOLS menu,apart from this online bookmarks,themes and unlimited extensions.....all these made a fan of Firefox.I went to the extend of collecting every version of Firefox(just like stamp,coins collection.I am unaware of the English term that is used for collecting all the versions of software).Now I have each and every version of Firefox from the date I started using it.

I wish and hope that Firefox will get more and more features.

But one feature which I feel that many are desperately in need of is a complete fully featured download manager which can used to resume download even if the connection is disconnected halfway.

Posted by: Madhusudhanan,Cuddalore,India. | July 5, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I used to use Mozilla Firefox ,too.,but I had a lot of trouble downloading and opening different programs that I switched back to Explorer.

Posted by: sharon Krukewitt | July 5, 2005 5:38 PM | Report abuse

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