The Better Business Bureau issued a warning Thursday afternoon on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The BBB is urging its consumers and businesses to pay attention to a cyber security advisory issued by the FBI regarding Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser. The FBI said all users are at risk because of a vulnerability within the system.
The original overview from the FBI states:
“A vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, which could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. Exploitation may occur if a user visits or is redirected to a web page which is specifically crafted to take advantage of the vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the logged on user. Depending on the privileges associated with the user, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Failed exploit attempts may result in a denial-of-service condition.”
Channel 4 sat down with local computer expert, Christopher Hamer, to break down the warning.
"The capacity to take advantage of a flaw in a browser is not anything new," said Hamer. "That's been around for many, many years. The problem is this is a very glaring vulnerability in a very popular browser."
The problem is so popular that Microsoft immediately put out a link on their website for people to click on to fix the problem.
Hamer said it is called a "hot fix," but beyond that he said there are other things people can do to keep their computers clear from hackers.
"Always stay on top of your security updates and hot fixes," said Hamer. "Have a good anti-virus program, but don't rely on it. If you go somewhere and it behaves unexpectedly, close the browser. Whatever it is you've got open in your browser, it's not so important that you can't go back and do it again. If you leave it open, you allow that code to compromise your machine."
The Better Business Bureau also put out a statement about the problem:
"If you are not sure which version you have, try running the fix. If you don't have Internet Explorer 8, the fix will stop running and let you know that your system is not at risk."
Hamer adds that people who have some anti-malware or security software might be safe. Many anti-software programs are designed to stop the Internet Explorer 8 glitch.
"It's not specifically a virus, it's an exploit, a vulnerability in browser to exploit," said Hamer.