Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
AOL Tech

Serious Internet Explorer Flaw Leaves Windows Users Vulnerable

Serious Internet Explorer Flaw Leaves Windows Users Vulnerable
You know things are bad when Microsoft is trying to draw attention to its latest security flaw. A new vulnerability is affecting Internet Explorer users who are running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 (do the latter even exist anymore?), allowing hackers to take control of victims' PCs remotely.

The risk of infection and hijacking is very serious since a user simply has to visit a Web site to fall prey to it. Criminals have been exploiting the security hole for about a week, primarily through links included in spam. Microsoft is working on the problem, but since the flaw was just recently discovered it may be a little while before it figures out how to plug the hole without breaking other features. Of course, we know from experience that Microsoft likes to take its sweet time with these things.

The flaw lies in how Internet Explorer and its notorious ActiveX controls handle video playback. Microsoft is encouraging users to disable the vulnerable ActiveX controls -- even in versions of Windows not known to be affected by the security problem -- until it can release an emergency patch later this month.

Have you ever been the victim of a computer virus?
Yes44829 (70.0%)
No9478 (14.8%)
I'm not sure9692 (15.1%)

Microsoft has instructions for how to disable the feature manually, but unless you're comfortable digging around the registry (and have a whole lot of free time on your hands), we suggest using Microsoft's automated work-around. Simply click the 'Fix This Problem' button on this page to automatically turn off video ActiveX controls.

Another way to avoid this problem is to simply use an alternative browser like the newly released Firefox 3.5 or Chrome -- neither of which use ActiveX controls. [From: Associated Press and Microsoft]

A Peek Inside the New Windows 7

    In Windows 7, the Internet Explorer address bar offers automatic pull-down menu links to similarly-spelled sites and favorites you've already visited.

    Improved jump lists let you quickly hop to frequently used applications or areas, as well as recent ones, on your computer.

    New 3-D library icons give you a more complete sense of what's inside each folder.

    The new look of the lightweight Windows Media Player.

    The full-screen magnifier lets you zoom in on anything on your screen.

    The Peek feature lets you quickly look at a window by just hovering your mouse over a taskbar thumbnail.

    The 'Play To' feature lets you play media on compatible network-connected devices (say, your Xbox 360 or a PC in another room) with just a couple of clicks.

    Easily choose between your computer's screen or a projector or monitor with the 'Projection' feature.

    More Windows taskbar previews.

    The personalized Windows Media Player JumpList aims to help you find your favorite music faster.

Tags: active x, ActiveX, internet explorer, InternetExplorer, microsoft, security, top, vulnerability, windows



Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.