Friday, May 2, 2014

Digital Darkroom: Microsoft Internet Explorer - Update

Microsoft Internet Explorer Logo, courtesty of Microsoft CorporationMany photographers use Microsoft Windows for their computing, to run their digital darkroom software, research, and communicate on the Internet. Many Microsoft Windows users make heavy use of the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser for their use of the Internet.

Yesterday, I reported on the problem with all versions of Internet Explorer from versions 8 through 11 (current version) which is that all the versions contain a particularly vulnerable “zero day exploit” through which hackers can install malware from a website you visit, which they have either hacked or setup themselves. 
Once you've visited the website while using Internet Explorer, the malware secretly installed on your computer can give a stranger total control of it, without your knowledge. You might not even notice it's running.

This can lead to serious problems of strangers being able to steal your private information, get access to your email, your credit and debit cards, your bank accounts, your files, and they have access to any computer on a network to which you have access, and identity theft in general.
Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Microsoft released a patch to Internet Explorer which fixes this particular vulnerability.
Much to everyone's surprise, despite no longer supporting Windows XP, Microsoft issued a patch for Internet Explorer 8, the highest version which can be used on Windows XP.

While this patch will stop this immediate threat, it is still recommend by computer security specialists throughout the world that anyone who can, utilize an alternate browser, especially those using Windows XP, do so, as browsers such as Firefox and Chrome are considered to have better security than Microsoft Internet Explorer.
IE 8, used by Windows XP is still perhaps the most major weakness for those who continue to use the unsupported operating system and should be discontinued permanently.
It would appear that most users are heeding this warning, as StatCounter and W3Counter, report that as of January, 2014 only between 20% to 24% of users continue to use Internet Explorer. Currently, Google Chrome is the most utilized browser, followed by Firefox and Internet Explorer in a virtual dead-heat, followed by Safari, Opera, and others.

If you are using Microsoft Windows, and have not upgraded Internet Explorer yet, do so today.

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