the citizens of both France and Germany are being advised by their governments NOT to use the Internet Explorer web browser.
Microsoft is responding by saying that it's only version 6 that's vulnerable, and that Internet Explorer 8 remains safe. Microsoft is claiming that IE8 is the safest web browser out there, but is it really?
This is really, really serious situation and it's impacting folk worldwide. Especially now that the code used by the hackers has been placed upon the web for anyone to access and use. Scary, right?
The Scandal of China Hacking into Accounts Via Security Holes in Microsoft's Internet Explorer
It's all very fishy. Apparently, there was a weakness within the Internet Explorer browser that allowed someone to exploit it and access Google's proprietary information as well as many other companies. Technology and intellectual property have been stolen. Gmail accounts have been invaded (although press reports are that these are a select few), and curiously a lot of these email account holders are human rights activists. Yesterday, there were news reports that journalists' email accounts at Beijing foreign bureaus were hacked.
And all fingers are pointing to China.
China could run but not hide from Google techies, who successfully thwarted the Chinese geeks' web of email and web addresses, as well as their fake names, to find that the source of the hacking against Google and others via this IE hole was originating in China. If you want to know all the gory details, track The Dark Visitor. The Dark Visitor is an American blog that reports on Chinese hackers. (They're sophisticated, and they've been at this for awhile.)
What About Finding a Solution?
What's the latest? According to the BBC today, Microsoft is fixing the problem and that a patch will be issued as soon as they can get it ready. Until then, better safe that sorry right? Firefox is a great, and fast, alternative -- and it even copies your bookmarks so you don't have to remember all those links. Nice. Unless you trust Microsoft so much that you're willing to ride the storm out with an upgrade to IE8. It's your call.
Note: You can keep up with Microsoft's work on fixing this problem by reading their latest Advisory.