Internet Explorer Security Flaw

According to this article in Time a truly massive security flaw has been discovered in Internet Explorer on XP. In fact it is so serious that a national security alert has been issued!

The way the flaw works sounds similar to that with the HeartBleed bug – in that a hacker can access resources that they should not be able to and so execute injected code.

What can you do about the Internet Explorer Security Flaw?

The simplest thing to first stop doing is to stop using Internet Explorer – download either Google Chrome or Firefox and change the defaults so that they are always used to browse the internet instead of IE.

The longer term solution is to move away from XP onto the latest generation of Windows.

This will also help avoid issues with viruses and other ‘nasties’ that will be able to break into XP and do so with increasing ease over time.

Make backups off the machine

You also need to get into the habit of using USB based hard drives to take independent backups of key files on your machine. Several reasons for this:

  1. There are viruses out there which will encrypt all of your files and then get you to pay anywhere from $500 upwards to decrypt the files – if you are lucky! The encryption used is the strongest available.
  2. Computers and hard drives will fail at some point Рan independent backup avoids problems.
  3. If you have a fire, you only need to take the external hard drive with you in your pocket to have all that matters from the computer.
  4. Do not purely depend on backups made by built in software. They will happily backup corrupt or encrypted files (see point #1) and if they do not keep multiple versions – you will have lost everything.

Unfortunately, the best safeguard against data loss is physically separated backups. if you can aim to do a physical backup once a week thats ideal, but even once a month will save you from a lot of heartache. Remember a USB hard drive is as little at $50, thats not much for peace of mind.

Combining the above approach with using cloud based document sharing (like Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive) will give you the best of both worlds.

If you have any questions concerning security or online security – please contact us .