Internet Explorer fans can go back to using the browser now that Microsoft has fixed the bug. Even Windows XP users, who had support withdrawn from April 8, 2014, have had the issues patched. The tech giant announced that the majority of people who allow the security updates to happen automatically will not need to do anything.
Internet Explorer users were notified on Monday that there was a bug issue that meant hackers could get in and take control of the computer. Anyone who had versions between six and 11 were affected, although those with the later versions were most likely to be targeted. There was very little that the users could do, except switch to a different web browser temporarily.
According to FireEye, defense and financial organizations were the most targeted. However, around 25 percent of web users were under threat, and would likely have never even realized until something went wrong with accounts or their money.
For many, the solution was simple. Switching a web browser is very easy, and many even have the capability of transferring favorites and saved passwords across. However, there are certain companies that created websites specifically for certain browsers. In some cases, using IE is the only option. For those uses, the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit was available.
The toolkit would alert users when hacking was likely, and protects computers by pre-empting the attacks. It is a toolkit designed by Microsoft for its own web browser. However, users can now go back to using Internet Explorer without extra toolkits or add-ons since Microsoft has fixed the bug.
According to Rapid7’s Global Security Strategist Trey Ford, the update is “out of band.” This simply means that it is out of the regular update cycle, and happens when there is a major security issue. Rapid7 is a cyber-security firm that continually checks for security issues on websites, with browsers and for anything tech related.
The most noteworthy thing about the recent patch is that even Windows XP users will receive it. On April 8, the tech giant withdrew support, encouraging users to update to Windows Vista or later. Many people now use either Windows 7 or 8, but there are still a number of financial businesses operating with the 12-year-old operating system. Security updates will no longer be available, excep under these important situations.
However, customers should not that this update for XP is just a one-off. Microsoft is not turning the support back on, and customers are still recommended to upgrade. Windows 7 is very similar to Windows XP, but it does mean some people need to buy a new computer. This is where the issue lies for some as they cannot afford new computer systems or to upgrade their current system to run the newer operating systems.
There are now questions over the lifespan of the internet browser. Many people are opting for Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome over many others. Those two browsers offer more security than most others, and work with the majority of websites around the world. However, for those stubborn Internet Explorer users and those who have no choice due to websites, Microsoft has fixed the bug that led to hackers getting in.
By Alexandria Ingham