NOT SAFE AT ANY SPEED: Flaw In Internet Explorer Leaves All Users Vulnernable To Attack, Financial Ruin

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: Users of all current versions of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer browser might be vulnerable to having their computers hijacked because of a serious security hole in the software that had yet to be fixed Monday. The flaw lets criminals commandeer victims’ machines merely by tricking them into visiting Web sites tainted with malicious programming code. As many as 10,000 sites have been compromised since last week to exploit the browser flaw, according to antivirus software maker Trend Micro Inc. The sites are mostly Chinese and have been serving up programs that steal passwords for computer games, which can be sold for money on the black market. However, the hole is such that it could be “adopted by more financially motivated criminals for more serious mayhem — that’s a big fear right now,” Paul Ferguson, a Trend Micro security researcher, said Monday.

“Zero-day” vulnerabilities like this are security holes that haven’t been repaired by the software makers. They’re a gold mine for criminals because users have few ways to fight off attacks.The latest vulnerability is noteworthy because Internet Explorer is the default browser for most of the world’s computers. Microsoft said it is investigating the flaw and is considering fixing it through an emergency software patch outside of its normal monthly updates, but declined further comment. The company is telling users to employ a series of complicated workarounds to minimize the threat. Many security experts, meanwhile, are urging Internet Explorer users to use another browser until a patch is released. MORE

PHAWKER: We Recommend Mozilla Firefox.

cutegirlblogger.thumbnail.jpgRELATED: Nearly half of the women questioned by Harris Interactive said they’d be willing to forgo sex for two weeks, rather than give up their Internet access, according to a study released Monday by Intel, which commissioned the survey. While 46 percent of the women surveyed were willing to engage in abstinence versus losing their Internet, only 30 percent of the men surveyed were willing to do likewise. The U.S. survey, which queried 2,119 adults last month, found that the gap grew even wider for both men and woman who were 18 to 34 years old. For woman, the percentage of those willing to skip the sheets in favor of the Web rose to 49 percent, while it climbed to 39 percent for men. MORE

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