Load your anti-virus software, back up your hard drives, and prepare yourself for the internet hack of a lifetime. Wait…put everything on hold for a minute. Microsoft just issued a patch for a zero day exploit in Internet Explorer that should protect users against malicious hackers.
Welcome to Zero Day
A fox, a compass, an E, and a multi-colored ball stand on a table before a man dressed in green military fatigues. Another older man with long wispy white hair and a white robe stands, hunched over, waving his arm in front of the objects on the table. “Choose,” he says, “Choose wisely, sergeant, for today is zero day.”
With a big gulp, the man in green shifts uneasily, his hands in his pockets. The fox darts swiftly towards him but careens off the metal table, crashing to the floor. It stares about, dazed and confused. “Oh, Mozilla,” sighs the old man.
“Drat,” the sergeant thinks to himself, “guess I won’t be using the fox; sounds more like a dinosaur anyways.”
He scans the rest of the weapons. A compass is useful for direction, but not when you’re fighting internet hackers, the multi-colored ball looks appealing, but nobody knows what it does, and then there’s the E. “Well, they always say that the pen is mightier than the sword,” mutters the sergeant.
The old man dances around the room and jumps in front of the man in green, his eyes magnified by a pair of goggles. His voice raised to an almost inaudible level, the old man exclaims, “Ready, Sergeant?!”
“Ready, Old Man Internet,” states the sergeant crisply.
The sergeant preps himself, rubbing his hands together, and focusing on his target, as the E turns into a gigantic blue-green portal. He dives. “Aim for the bushes!” shouts the old man.
“Whaa-?” exclaims the man in green.
A resounding splat echoes in Old Man Internet’s room. He shrugs. “Should have picked a better browser.”
Why You Shouldn’t Use Internet Explorer
We’re not necessarily saying “don’t use Internet Explorer,” but there are so many better options out there in terms of security and overall functionality. Chrome and the new Firefox are far and away the best browsers out there for both Windows computers and Macs. Both programs offer their users security, the possibility of add ons (the Chrome Store is pretty awesome), and are relatively fast. If you want super-fast internet on Windows 7 and 8, then go with Explorer; just be warned that, like driving an F1 car 180 miles per hour down a two lane road, things will probably go wrong. This is what they have found with this zero day exploit.
Microsoft rated the flaw as “Critical,” and has begun to deliver patches to computers with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and even XP. That’s right, even XP will get a security update for Internet Explorer, despite Microsoft’s stance that it will no longer supply security patches for the outdated software.
This should not be seen as an opportunity to continue using Windows XP, but a suggestion that Windows XP will only be exposed to more flaws like Heartbleed and zero-day. You may also want to look into choosing a safer browser. There are a bunch of browsers out there beyond Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Explorer, but for security reasons, we would suggest using either Chrome or Firefox. Safe browsing!