Security Alert

News sites around the world are reporting a serious “Zero-Day-Exploit” security flaw just discovered (in the wild) involving Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web Browser.

The exploit affects Versions 7, 8 and 9 of Internet Explorer running on Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7.   Microsoft have confirmed the problem exists and are working on patching it up, however you need to act in order to protect yourself – now!

Until Microsoft resolve this issue, anyone who visits an infected and malicious web site could allow a hacker to gain the same privileges you enjoy on your computer.

There are several things you can do to protect yourself, but probably the quickest and easiest way to avoid and protect yourself against this problem is to download and install either “Mozilla Firefox” or ”Google Chrome” browser(s) and use one of those to explore or visit web sites that you are not certain are safe.

You can import Bookmarks / Favourites etc. from Internet Explorer during installation of either browser. Though I recommend it, there is really no need to make either your “default” browser unless you choose to.

Internet Explorer will still be required on Windows XP systems in order to be able to visit the Microsoft Update website to get the latest security updates.

How to go about protecting yourself..

Assuming you choose to use the Mozilla Firefox, (recommended) – installation is very simple.

Here’s some step by step instructions assuming you’re running Windows XP – Windows 7 procedures are very similar;

(Don’t be intimidated by the instructions below – It looks much more complicated than it really is)

  1. Go to the Firefox Web Browser Free Download Page by clicking this link;
    Mozilla Firefox Download Page    ( links to: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ ) or by typing the link directly into your copy of Internet Explorer
  2. From that page, click on the Green “Firefox Free Download” button
  3. Download and Save the “Firefox Setup 15.0.1.exe” file to a temporary directory or to your desktop  (Version 15.0.1 correct at time of writing)
  4. When the download has finished – close all instances of Internet Explorer and any other web browsers you may have open
  5. Locate the “Firefox Setup 15.0.1” file you just downloaded and run (double click) it.  If your computer gives you a security warning about running the file, accept it and click Run – an “Extracting” box appears as the installation begins
  6. Click “Next >” on the “Welcome to the Mozilla Firefox Setup Wizard” box to continue
  7. For “Setup Type” – I recommend you select the “Standard” install option, which should already be selected by default and click the “Next >” button to continue – Only use the “Custom” option if you’re an experienced user
  8. If you want Firefox to set itself up as your Default Browser, (recommended) then just click the Install button to continue.
    Only Un-tick “Use Firefox as my default web browser” before you click install if you want to keep Internet Explorer as your default browser
  9. Firefox will now install itself – at the end of the installation process, click the Finish button and leave the “Launch Firefox now” option ticked
  10. Import Settings and Data Option – Select the Microsoft Internet Explorer radio button to “Import Options, Bookmarks, History, Passwords and other data” from Internet Explorer (recommended) and click the “Next >” button
  11. Home Page Selection – Select the “Import your home page from Internet Explorer” radio button (recommended) and click the “Next >” button to continue
  12. Import Complete – Now just click the “Finish” button

Ok, you’re nearly done and ready to use your new Firefox web browser.

If you did not select to make Firefox your default browser in Step 8 above, Firefox will ask again if you want it to be your default browser.  Click the Yes or No button depending on your own personal preference.

I would personally suggest making it default (it’s a great browser that I use daily myself) – you can always change Internet Explorer to be the default browser again very easily and at any time.

You will notice that you now have an Icon on your Desktop named “Mozilla Firefox” – double click this icon to browse the web just like you would with Internet Explorer.

Note that the first time you launch Firefox, you will be asked “Will you help improve Mozilla Firefox by sending information about performance, hardware, usage, and customizations to Mozilla?” – I suggest answering “No” to this question.

That’s all there is to it.  Now just use Firefox until Microsoft patches the security vulnerability in their version 7, 8 and 9 of Internet Explorer.  This patch will likely come down with other Critical Security Updates which you should be checking for on a regular basis with Windows Update.

You will find your Internet Explorer saved Favorites under the “Bookmarks” section in the top Menu bar of Firefox.

Some links to News Reports about this vulnerability if you would like to read more;

Mashable Tech Website

The Age News Website

Sydney Morning Herald Website

Hope this helps.

Note you will no longer require the Firefox Setup File you downloaded earlier – feel free to delete it.

Should you run into any difficulties with any of the above, or require assistance, please do not hesitate to Contact us for Telephone or Remote Support assistance.

Till the next time..

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