It’s kind of cliche these days to make fun of Internet Explorer and its numerous security problems. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into the latest iterations of their Internet browser, and IE10 is by all accounts really secure. Unfortunately, older versions of the browser aren’t so lucky.
Researchers at AlientVault have found a zero day exploit that affects Internet Explorer 7 and 8, and can be easily executed on Windows XP. It’s encouraged that folks using Windows XP, Vista or 7 stop using Internet Explorer right now. A lot of Windows users are safe inside their Chrome or Firefox bunkers, but there’s still quite a few people out there who don’t know any better.
The researchers at Rapid 7 took it a step further and proved that the exploit could be performed on IE 7,8 and 9. That means that Windows XP, Vista and 7 are at risk. They point out that the current zero day exploit affects over 41 percent of Internet users in the United States and 32 percent around the world. This exploit has the potential to wreck a lot of lives. Unfortunately, we don’t really know what it does just yet.
We do, however, know that this exploit most likely comes from the same team who created the zero day exploit in Java from just a few weeks ago. If it’s anything like that, the current exploit hopes to turn your PC into a bot. In essence, they want to take over your PC and use it to advance their own nefarious deeds.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from this potentially damaging zero-day exploit? First and foremost, stop using Internet Explorer. It’s hard to let go of what you’re familiar with, but it’s for the best. Microsoft told Ars Technica that they’re working on a solution, but it could take days for an official fix. Switch over to Firefox, Chrome or Opera for now, and we’ll let you know when it’s safe to switch back. By that point, you may even find yourself liking one of the alternative browsers even more.
[Image Source: Rapid 7]