If you have IE 6 through 11, watch out. There’s a glitch that enables hackers to exploit flaws in these systems. Microsoft is racing to fix this vulnerability bug. Unfortunately, news is not so good for those using Windows XP, because Microsoft has ceased support, period. This means no security updates. It’s estimated that almost 30 percent of all the personal computers across the world are using Windows XP. Business owners and other decision makers of organizations need to overestimate just how risky it is to cling onto an old favorite rather than promptly switch to a new system that has stronger support.
Security researchers came upon the bug, calling it a “zero day threat”: The initial attacks occurred before Microsoft knew of the problem. Researchers also say the flaw has been exploited by a savvy hacker group with a campaign called “Operation Clandestine Fox.”
Nobody seems to know what makes this hacking group tick. Maybe they just want to get their hands on some sensitive military and financial institution data. Microsoft says that the attacker means serious business and can potentially gain massive control of the flawed system.
- Do not use IE. Use another browser like Chrome or Firefox.
- If you have Adobe Flash update it now or disable it immediately. The attacks depend on Adobe Flash.
- Microsoft urges XP users to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. If your PC can’t support these, buy a new one. Or, consider getting the Windows Upgrade Assistant from Microsoft, which can be downloaded.
With hackers swarming in like killer bees, knowing that XP’s support is over, XP users must stay in heavyweight mode for any attacks. Thieves can even use new security updates for Windows Vista (and later) as a guide to hacking into systems running on XP.
Anti-malware solutions aren’t very effective on operating systems that lack support, and hackers know this. But more alarming is that fewer users, including business owners, are ready to accept this or even have a clue about it. Regardless, update your antivirus now.
Though it seems that for good measure, Microsoft should provide one last support run for XP users who are affected by the bug, the software behemoth won’t budge.