Microsoft is rushing to issue a patch to fix a security flaw which is believed to have resulted in as many as 10,000 websites being affected. The emergency patch should be available from 1800 GMT today, December 17th.
The (latest) flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal passwords.
Internet Explorer is used by the vast majority of computer users and the flaw could affect all versions of it, although so far the vulnerability has affected only machines running Internet Explorer 7.
The flaw has so far only been used to steal gaming passwords but could also be used to steal other information.
It is unusual for Microsoft to issue emergency patches rather than regular, routine updates, so it must therefore be being viewed as a serious threat.
Some security experts have advised people to switch browsers as Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Apple’s Safari browsers are not vulnerable to this latest security problem.
Anyone using Internet Explorer should follow the following security advice:
Change IE security settings to high (Under Tools/Internet Options)
Switch to a Windows user account with limited rights to change a PC’s settings
With IE7 or 8 on Vista turn on Protected Mode
Ensure your PC is updated
Keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date