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.
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