17 Dec 2008 - Important - Internet Explorer
Microsoft confirms danger in Internet Explorer
A big story in most media at present confirms that Microsoft is desperately seeking a solution to a new problem in all versions Internet Explorer. This 'vulnerability' could allow hackers to do various nasty things such find passwords, install programs without your knowledge etc. It is said that only about 0.2% of computers are affected at present but if you would like to take precautions, read on:
What can I do? - a short list
1. Internet Explorer Security Settings
Go to 'Tools / Internet Options and then click the Security tab and set Internet security to 'High' - see screenshot below:
Note that you will probably now get more prompts from Internet Explorer asking you if you trust a particular web site.
2. Take further precautions in Internet Explorer
If you wish to stay with Internet Explorer and are prepared to make more complicated changes, read this article from ExtremeTech.com detailing how to make Internet Explorer safer. Remember - there are other browsers (see no.4 below).
3. Restricted User Accounts on your computer
Your PC can be set to run at different levels of security, changing what the computer allows you to do. Many computers have been set up with an 'Administrator' account for installing new programs, making system changes etc. and 'User' accounts for day to day use. If you have only one account and you don't have to choose a username when you start using your computer you probably have an 'Administrator' account. This is very convenient but more prone to hacker activity.
If you are using Vista you will have noticed that some important actions such as installing or running new programs require a prompt from you. This is a safety precaution which is applied even if you are running an administrator account. This precaution does not happen in XP.
If you only have an administrator account, it is recommend that you set up a separate user account with restricted rights for every day use. If you would like to take this precaution and are not familiar with setting up user accounts, you will need to take advice from your computer support technician.
4. Change your web browser
Internet Explorer is not the only web browser, and we think there are better alternatives. Installing and running a new web browser is very straightforward.
Our favourite browser for some years now has been Firefox. We still run Internet Explorer versions 5.01, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0 to test our web sites but we use Firefox for our day to day browsing. Many of the excellent features of Firefox, such as having tabs instead of lots of new windows, have been adopted by Internet Explorer and once you've used Firefox you probably won't want to go back.
Go to www.mozilla.org and click on the Firefox icon. The download is about 7Mb (a minute or two on broadband). Save the download to your computer then click the .exe file to install.
Search on Google for 'google chrome' or go to this link. This download is very small - instructions as for Firefox. Google Chrome takes up very little screen space leaving lots of space for the website you are looking at.
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