If you use Internet Explorer as your browser you need to be aware of a major security issue that was discovered over the weekend. If you use Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9 on Windows XP, Vista or 7, your computer is vulnerable to attack by a zero-day exploit known as ‘Poison Ivy’ (zero-day just means that it has managed to go undetected until it actually started attacking). This particular attack takes advantage of a security hole within Internet Explorer and can result in cybercriminals gaining remote access to your computer. It is predicted that 32% of internet users worldwide are at risk.
Microsoft are working on a fix for this security hole, but no date has been announced for it yet. In the meantime they have released a security software tool that you can download to protect your computer from this attack, but it appears that it is not entirely successful, and has run into some incompatibility issues with some internet security products. Most of the major internet security companies have already updated their products or are in the process of updating, so subscribers should be protected. The problem with these attacks is that they can mutate and the attackers can find a way around the internet security updates before they can be updated again.
Until Microsoft release a fix for Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9, your best protection is to switch to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, or download the preview version of Internet Explorer 10 which is not affected.