Software makers face a daunting challenge with each product they create. It's a game of cat and mouse as hackers continuously poke holes in popular software, and developers patch them as they come.
The worst of these bugs are what are known as "zero-day" bugs. These are previously unknown flaws that hackers are already actively exploiting.
Read on and I'll tell you about the latest one that's currently affecting Windows machines and what Microsoft is doing about it. It's one emergency patch you can't afford to miss.
Zero-day Internet Explorer flaw
Microsoft just released another emergency out-of-band patch and this time, and it's for a critical zero-day security flaw that affects its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.
The serious flaw (CVE-2018-8653) could allow an allow an attacker to remotely take control of a Windows machine by simply luring a victim to visit a poisoned site.
Once an attacker gains control, they could then run malicious code, install programs, steal data and even create new users with administrator rights.
And the worst part? It's already being exploited by hackers.
Microsoft said that it learned about the zero-day flaw after receiving a report from Google about it. The flaw affects virtually all versions of Internet Explorer 11 across all Windows systems - Windows 7 through 10 as well as Windows Server 2012, 2016 and 2019.
Are you still using Internet Explorer to browse the web? Make sure to grab this patch as soon as you can.
How to update Windows
Most Windows machines are set to download and install updates automatically by default. If you haven't changed your automatic update settings, then you should be fine.
If you want to check, here's how:
- On Windows 10, click Start (Windows logo)
- Choose "Settings"
- Select "Update & Security"
- On the "Windows Update" section, select "Check for Updates."
Note: The "Windows Update" section is also handy for showing you updates that are currently being downloaded or applied.
If you have an older Vista or Windows 7 system, check out our tips on how to set up and check Windows Updates.
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