FBI issues Cyber Security Advisory
The FBI has released a Cyber Security Advisory urging all consumers and businesses to pay close attention to a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 browser (IE8) that could allow scammers to access and take over users’ computers. The risk for all users -- home, business, and government -- is high, and steps to address the problem should be followed.
The problem was first announced May 8, and last night Microsoft released a temporary fix. The original overview from the FBI states:
“A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer, which could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. Exploitation may occur if a user visits or is redirected to a web page which is specifically crafted to take advantage of the vulnerability. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Failed exploit attempts may result in a denial-of-service condition.”
Microsoft released a workaround May 9, which acts as a temporary fix. It is available at https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2847140. The company is working on a patch to undo the vulnerability, which does not affect other versions of IE.
To avoid being a victim of computer scams, the following advice for online security should be used:
•Develop a strong password. A strong password has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers. A variety of characters makes the password better. Never use personal information such as your name, birthdate, driver license, Social Security number, or similar information. Also, avoid sequences or repeated characters.
•Avoid Phishing emails. Phishing emails are a common way for hackers to get at your personal information or break into your computer. Do not respond to requests for financial information. Legitimate businesses do not request personal or financial information by email. Don’t click on any links or open any attachments to emails until you have confirmed that they are not malicious. Also beware of unsolicited emails from companies with which you have no association.
•Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses, make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
•Find a computer repair company you can trust. If you are concerned your computer may have been exposed to viruses, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.