Microsoft has just released an urgent update for all supported versions of the Windows operating system to combat a high level security vulnerability relating to the Internet Explorer browser. The vulnerability takes advantage of the way Internet Explorer stores memory relating to web pages and uses it to grant someone the same privileges as the current user.
A blog post by Qualys’ Wolfgang Kandek explains that “the attack code is hosted on a malicious webpage that you or your users would have to visit in order to get infected” but that it’s not as simple as just clicking through to the page. Users can still be exposed to the exploit via legit ad networks, hacked sites or blogs, and manipulated search engine results.
The security update is rated as “critical” for Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11 and should be downloaded immediately via the usual system update settings. Naturally, if you’re concerned about security while surfing the web, the latest version of a browser is always more secure than previous versions and updating on a regular basis is worth it in the long run. The same can be said for operating systems.
ZNET’s Zack Whittaker claims that Microsoft is pushing this security update to “all versions of Windows” though it’s reasonable to assume that he isn’t being literal and that the supported operating systems are Windows 7, 8, and 10. Like with browsers, the newer your computer’s operating system, the more secure you’ll be in general. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, now is as good a time as any.
It’s unclear if other web browsers are vulnerable to this exploit though it is confirmed that it hasn’t affected Microsoft’s new Edge browser at all which is good to hear. Even though Edge is obviously still missing the functionality that more established browsers offer, it is a relief to see it living up to Microsoft’s promise of a more secure browser.
Do you keep all your browsers and operating systems up to date or do you like to live dangerously? Let us know in the comments below (and then install the new updates ASAP).