You have probably heard of the AZN Trojan which has been causing havoc in the Internet world over the last week, but if you haven’t you really should so read on. But for those who have, you will be relieved to know that Microsoft has released a patch for the vulnerability which should stem the problems occurred when browsing using Internet Explorer (IE). This is great news for those IE lovers out there who have been using an alternative for the last week, or the more foolish ones that have been using IE regardless.
Those that are ignorant and righteous may be laughing at those stupid enough to download dodgy material, and thinking that it couldn’t happen to them. But they would be horribly wrong because this exploitation of invulnerability means that all you have to do is go on infected website to “contract” the virus, and suffer the consequences of it.
And the results of this have been fairly devastating; an estimated 10,000 websites are infected, and Microsoft says that over two million Windows users have succumbed to this Trojan. It has in fact been touring the web since the beginning of December, but was only last week that it was brought to the public attention due to its devastating consequences. The reason for this is that it can record keystrokes allowing the Trojan to record all your credit card details, any information about you and every password that you use. This is obviously a massive problem, and understandably has brought a very quick response from Microsoft.
The response comes in the form of a patch that contains more than 300 distinct updates which Microsoft hope will irradiate this threat, although they still retain that it is by no means over and are encouraging people to download and test this solution. Although so far we have only seen it effecting IE7, it would appear that its predecessor and successor aren’t safe either with them both being labelled “potentially vulnerable”.
So what are your options now? Well you could put complete trust in the Microsoft security department and continue to use IE regardless, but to be honest that isn’t a good idea until it has been proven to work. Personally I would advise moving to a different internet browser and this opens up a whole new world of choices.
You may be surprised at how many different programmes do the same job as Internet Explorer especially if you are the kind of person who only uses IE because it comes with Windows. You could use PhaseOut, Deepnet, Avant, Flock, Maxthon, Safari, Opera, Chrome or Firefox all of which have different strengths and weaknesses — Safari for example has slightly inferior security whilst Avant has a large start up time. But really that is too many to look at, so we will narrow it down to IEs biggest two competitors: Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Google Chrome Browser is built on an entirely different system regarding tabs, meaning that one slow tab does not slow your whole window down, and also looks very nice and is dead easy to navigate. It is also very quick, but there is that niggling feeling that you are helping Google onto world domination, and it also doesn’t work very well with Hotmail.
Firefox also has a nice layout, and is normally rated slightly higher than Chrome due to the fact that you can customise it making it unique to you — a very nice feature. However make sure you get Firefox 3.0 and not 2, because following the recent update (aimed to prevent what happened to IE) they have promised not to continue support or patches for Firefox 2.
So maybe you were already using these, or maybe you are new to this world of choices, but either way it is probably best to steer clear of IE for a bit or you would end up out of pocket. If you want my personal opinion I would say you should install both and use Firefox for e-mail and Chrome for everything else — it is not a bad idea to have your details split over two internet browsers, it makes you less subject to vulnerabilities. Any way good luck and Merry Christmas!
Source – BBC