Another day, another Internet Explorer security threat. The latest big bad to hit the IE family is so severe that the US Department of Homeland Security is urging the public to stop using the browser until it’s fixed. I have a better suggestion. Stop using Internet Explorer!
Seriously. Just because it’s built into Windows doesn’t mean you have to use it. There are other browsers out there with better security track records to choose from. Why is anyone still using Internet Explorer? This latest threat affects not just one version of IE, but v6 to v11. That’s over 55% of the PC market! No wonder hackers are rejoicing.
Like most threats, this one could allow hackers to take complete control of your system if you get infected. Now that the bug is public, other hackers can easily jump on the bandwagon to exploit the hole. While this threat lacks the star power and marketing tools that heartbleed has, it’s still a threat.
It should come as no surprise that mere weeks after Microsoft pulled the plug on supporting Windows XP, the “little OS that could” finds itself right smack dab in the middle of a hacker’s bull’s eye. Microsoft vows to patch the IE hole, but not for XP!
Just think about it. It’s a win-win for hackers! You have Internet Explorer that’s been the Swiss cheese of security when it comes to web browsers for years. Now add in the mother load of businesses that are still living in the past with a now unsupported OS. What do you get? Open season for hackers.
While many businesses finally jumped on the Windows 7 bandwagon, there’s still a good chunk of users that have held on to the tried, tested, and true XP (~25%). I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Well guess what? Now it’s broken, and Microsoft won’t fix it. Time to upgrade!
The quick fix is to just stop using IE. In the long run though, your best bet is to move on from XP. Yes, it’s an expense. I know, you can’t afford it. Of course, you don’t have the resources. Whatever the excuse, you’re running an OS that’s not supported anymore. That’s like running anti-virus with outdated definitions. You’re at risk. Just because XP is old (13!) doesn’t mean it’s not a target. XP is on a hacker’s radar.
The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this recent hack wasn’t crafted by Microsoft to help round up the strays. You know, get everyone on the Windows 7 train. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m not going to lose sleep wondering about it. I made the switch to Apple a year ago after Windows 8. I’m safe, how about you?