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Serious Internet Explorer Flaw?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else heard about this?

http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/200812...lorer_security

I saw this on the Yahoo homepage, so I'm assuming it's not a hoax. My browser is Internet Explorer, so I'm kinda paranoid as to how serious this may be.

Does anyone know anything about this?
post #2 of 25
Hmmm, I use Firefox for my browser. I have not heard anything about it! Sounds scary!
post #3 of 25
Just be careful about what sites you go to!

Otherwise, download Firefox at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ and use that instead - it's much safer than IE!
post #4 of 25
Ive been using google chrome for the last 3 months now I happy I stoped using IE
post #5 of 25
I stopped using IE about a month ago because I updated to their newest version and had nothing but problems.

Firefox runs a lot smoother, quicker and is more secure
post #6 of 25
Microsoft is now pushing a fix to computers now so you should have a Windows update. If you don't have it set up to automatically update, make sure you do a manual update.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
Microsoft is now pushing a fix to computers now so you should have a Windows update. If you don't have it set up to automatically update, make sure you do a manual update.
I did do the update, as soon as it came out and I heard about it.

Regarding Firefox, I read that they had some kind of problem, too. I guess it really doesn't matter just which browser it is that you use: the "bad" people are out there everywhere..

I did have a freaky thing happen to me the day after I read about the IE flaw. My computer suddenly shut down when I logged online. I sent an error report, and Microsoft "blamed" the error onto my antivirus software. I checked into it, and nothing seemed to be amiss. Of course I can't be sure, but I think it had something to do with the IE flaw thingy.

Everything seems to be okay now. I had a friend of mine double-check some things, and she seems to think that everything is okay. I'm still gonna check with my antivirus software program though, just to be on the safe side...
post #8 of 25
To all Windows users - go through your services and make sure there aren't any unnecessary ones on, set to automatic, or set to otherwise cause problems. Past viruses, and maybe even some more current ones, have used default settings in these to cause problems. One of the things that is most noticeable is a service that is set to restart or shutdown the computer when the service fails.

If you don't like Firefox, try Opera or Chrome.

KittKatt - look up "HijackThis". If you have a more computer savvy friend, let them look at the report from it. This can be used to look for things running that should not be - such as viruses, worms, and trojans.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
To all Windows users - go through your services and make sure there aren't any unnecessary ones on, set to automatic, or set to otherwise cause problems. Past viruses, and maybe even some more current ones, have used default settings in these to cause problems. One of the things that is most noticeable is a service that is set to restart or shutdown the computer when the service fails.

If you don't like Firefox, try Opera or Chrome.

KittKatt - look up "HijackThis". If you have a more computer savvy friend, let them look at the report from it. This can be used to look for things running that should not be - such as viruses, worms, and trojans.
How would you look up "HijackThis"? On a web search like Yahoo?

On a different note, I was checking into my antivirus program and came across something called a "virus chest". Isn't that supposed to be the thing you click on to find out if you have any viruses?


Quote:
One of the things that is most noticeable is a service that is set to restart or shutdown the computer when the service fails.
That worries me. When my computer suddenly shut down the other day, it automatically started back up again on its own. And I have no idea as to how I should check it out, or how to correct anything if something's amiss, either.
post #10 of 25
Yes, you'd use a search engine to look it up. You can actually find the solution to a lot of computer problems simply by looking them up in a search engine. Tech forums being large source of information and fixes.

What antivirus are you using? I remember avast had the virus chest, this was just where it quarantined the ones that it couldn't delete until the computer was restarted. I suggest you also try booting into safe mode and running the antivirus that way if you're having problems - there are less things running in safe mode to interfere with the antivirus removing virus.

And yes, I mentioned how services can restart your computer because your's did that. Sometimes it doesn't take a virus to do that, though, to make a service fail. It's a simple fix if a person looks up "turn off windows services" and uses the correct guide for what they use their computer for.
A general basic user does not need remote pc stuff turned on for example. Doing this can also make your computer run a little faster as there's less useless stuff on.


What I don't get is how people get infected or get hit by big flaws in the first place? Put some safety nets in place, avoid poor programs (IE), and don't do stupid stuff online - a good portion of viruses require the user to do something that should be common sense not to. Such as clicking on things they shouldn't...
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Yes, you'd use a search engine to look it up. You can actually find the solution to a lot of computer problems simply by looking them up in a search engine. Tech forums being large source of information and fixes.
Okay - gotcha! (I think! ).

Quote:
What antivirus are you using? I remember avast had the virus chest, this was just where it quarantined the ones that it couldn't delete until the computer was restarted. I suggest you also try booting into safe mode and running the antivirus that way if you're having problems - there are less things running in safe mode to interfere with the antivirus removing virus.
I'm using avast.

What's "safe mode"? I'm still fairly new to a lot of this.


Quote:
And yes, I mentioned how services can restart your computer because your's did that. Sometimes it doesn't take a virus to do that, though, to make a service fail. It's a simple fix if a person looks up "turn off windows services" and uses the correct guide for what they use their computer for.
A general basic user does not need remote pc stuff turned on for example. Doing this can also make your computer run a little faster as there's less useless stuff on.
Huh??

I'm assuming that the computer shutting down like it did was a good thing??



Quote:
What I don't get is how people get infected or get hit by big flaws in the first place? Put some safety nets in place, avoid poor programs (IE), and don't do stupid stuff online - a good portion of viruses require the user to do something that should be common sense not to. Such as clicking on things they shouldn't...
I don't get it, either. I take all the precautions I possibly can (to the best of my knowledge, that is), and I never go to websites that I don't know & trust, or click on a "blind" link. I also never open any emails with attachments - even if it's coming from someone I know & trust - b/c I know that's probably the best way to get infected. If I'm ordering online, I never do so unless the website displays a secure page thingy.

I guess the creeps are out there everywhere, and if they want to badly enough, they're gonna find a way to screw something up. It's sad that something so wonderful like the internet & computers have to be sabotaged by peeps who have nothing better to do with their time.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
What's "safe mode"? I'm still fairly new to a lot of this.
That's when you boot up into windows but don't have all the normal services, settings, drivers, and programs running. It's used to fix things.
You do this by holding down the F8 key on your keyboard as you boot up your computer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
I'm assuming that the computer shutting down like it did was a good thing??
Not at all. You wouldn't want your car suddenly stalling while you're driving it. Likewise, your computer restarting itself says something went wrong.


For the most part, your problem is that you're using XP - a popular and very much targeted OS. You're still a novice user so you don't know where or how to look for particular problems. As you fix things, over and over in windows, you should pick up more knowledge.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
That's when you boot up into windows but don't have all the normal services, settings, drivers, and programs running. It's used to fix things.
You do this by holding down the F8 key on your keyboard as you boot up your computer.
I rarely ever turn the computer off - it's usually in "standby" mode. If I do boot it back up, I've never done it while holding down the F8 key: no one ever informed me that I should do it that way. So I'm assuming it's not in a safe mode then?? Am I supposed to hold down the F8 key everytime I go on the computer - even if it's on standby??


Quote:
Not at all. You wouldn't want your car suddenly stalling while you're driving it. Likewise, your computer restarting itself says something went wrong.
That doesn't make me feel any better. I'm probably messing something up every time I use the computer, w/o even knowing I'm doing it.


Quote:
For the most part, your problem is that you're using XP - a popular and very much targeted OS. You're still a novice user so you don't know where or how to look for particular problems. As you fix things, over and over in windows, you should pick up more knowledge.

I am learning things as I go along, but I'm still a loooong ways away from knowing everything I should. I'm almost afraid to turn the darn thing on anymore, for fear of something getting messed up.

Everything seems to be okay: the computer has been running smoothly, and I haven't had any shut-downs or anything since that fatal error thing occured. But what do I know?

I wish I knew how to check everything out to make sure it's all okay....

Thanks for all your help, StrangeWings!
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
I rarely ever turn the computer off - it's usually in "standby" mode. If I do boot it back up, I've never done it while holding down the F8 key: no one ever informed me that I should do it that way. So I'm assuming it's not in a safe mode then?? Am I supposed to hold down the F8 key everytime I go on the computer - even if it's on standby??
You should reboot your computer. Programs and windows itself doesn't clear ram perfectly so from time to time you need to restart. If you install anything, run your virus scanner (and it finds a virus), remove spyware, etc - you need to reboot your computer so settings can be applied properly and so viruses can be fully removed.

Safe mode is only if there is a problem that you need to fix - such as a tough virus. You don't need to use this for anything else. And no, standby is just standby, you're not rebooting your computer so F8 would be useless.


I wouldn't be too afraid. As long as the physical parts are not damaged, your computer's fine. You can always reinstall software.
post #15 of 25
I remember checking into a motel once and they were having real problems because their computer wasn't working properly. Seeing their room management app was just running on a regular PC I offered to take a look at it. I found the OS was only recognizing 640KB of RAM. Yet the machine had something like 512MB installed. I asked if they ever rebooted the computer and was told they never did. I rebooted it and it worked fine. The desk clerk thought I was a genius. I know better, but got a room discount out of it anyway. PC's don't have error-correcting memory and if left on, random errors can pop up in RAM that get written out to disk. Then they end up corrupting files. In this case, apparently one or another of the system .ini files (pre-32 bit Windows) which were probably living in the page file (or system cache, don't remember what they called it back then) because the app they were running was a memory hog.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
... but I'm still a loooong ways away from knowing everything I should. ...
Oh, good heavens, nobody does, don't feel bad. Even Microsoft tech support doesn't know everything they should know about Windows. It's just way too complicated these days. Even Macs aren't what they used to be. You can live with computers your whole life without knowing everything you need to know to keep them running yourself. That's what the Geek Squad is for. You pay people you take car of your car nowadays; they're too complicated and inaccessible for the ordinary person; same with computers. I used to do routine maintenance and minor repairs when I had my '65 Mustang; now I don't even change my own oil. I wrote my first "hello world" in Fortran IV on punch cards in 1967 and after using Windows XP for, what, eight years? I'm finally comfortable enough with it to solve most problems on my own (knock on plastic) and here they come out with a new version. I tell ya, it's a conspiracy!!
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
That's what the Geek Squad is for. You pay people you take car of your car nowadays; they're too complicated and inaccessible for the ordinary person; same with computers.
I've stumped a couple people working at a BestBuy's Geek Squad - they didn't have an answer for something I pointed out and where trying to push my MIL into buying software she didn't need.

I agree with you about vehicles - depending on what you have, you can't do a single thing on it yourself. Mainly the sports cars are the biggest pain.

As for inaccessible, try opening an Xbox 360 sometime! I want to smash the thing to pieces already. Microsoft had to use a size 8 torx - the one size I don't have in any of the sets around here which means I have to wait till Monday to fix the stupid thing. Then I get to pop the other 360 open, goody.
post #18 of 25
Well, the Geek Squad is for consumer users, not "power users."

Really, you'd think that by now computers should be as easy to use as a toaster. I think Moore's Law should be put on hold for a few years and instead of concentrating on making the technology more powerful, they should concentrate on making it easier to use and more reliable.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster
I tell ya, it's a conspiracy!!


Thanks again for all your help, y'all. Sometimes I pick things up just by reading what others have posted. Every little bit helps!

So I'm assuming that keeping it in standby mode is all right, and I should reboot it once in awhile by using the f8 key?
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
So I'm assuming that keeping it in standby mode is all right, and I should reboot it once in awhile by using the f8 key?
No. I think I confused you. You do need to restart your computer from time to time, normal restart. You tell it to restart, walk off and go do something - go get something to drink, use the bathroom, watch some tv, ect (usually takes a couple minutes for XP to shut everything down and restart everything again anyways ).

Booting into safe mode is only if you have a problem that cannot be fix in normal mode.
You should restart your computer, into normal mode, after running your virus software or spyware remover - if it finds anything.
Avast should give you a little message saying it moved the virus to the quarantine chest and that it will be deleted after you restart your computer. You can't click ok and ignore this, you need to restart so the anti virus program can finish.

All standby mode does is save some power by shutting of the monitor and shuts down a few other things. It does not restart your computer and it does not clear out memory like restarting your computer will. If you do not restart your computer every now and then you'll have errors, stuff will corrupt, and you may find yourself needing to completely reinstall windows or at the very least going back to restore points sooner then you'd like.

That said, I've left a computer on for 3 months straight without problems but I took measures to clear out memory. (And to anyone else reading, did you know you can throw off some of the trial timers on software that way? )
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
No. I think I confused you. You do need to restart your computer from time to time, normal restart. You tell it to restart, walk off and go do something - go get something to drink, use the bathroom, watch some tv, ect (usually takes a couple minutes for XP to shut everything down and restart everything again anyways ).

Booting into safe mode is only if you have a problem that cannot be fix in normal mode.
You should restart your computer, into normal mode, after running your virus software or spyware remover - if it finds anything.
Avast should give you a little message saying it moved the virus to the quarantine chest and that it will be deleted after you restart your computer. You can't click ok and ignore this, you need to restart so the anti virus program can finish.

All standby mode does is save some power by shutting of the monitor and shuts down a few other things. It does not restart your computer and it does not clear out memory like restarting your computer will. If you do not restart your computer every now and then you'll have errors, stuff will corrupt, and you may find yourself needing to completely reinstall windows or at the very least going back to restore points sooner then you'd like.

That said, I've left a computer on for 3 months straight without problems but I took measures to clear out memory. (And to anyone else reading, did you know you can throw off some of the trial timers on software that way? )
Well, it doesn't take much to confuse me - especially when it comes to computers.

I think I gotcha now, though. Thanks again, Strange_Wings!
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings
Avast should give you a little message saying it moved the virus to the quarantine chest and that it will be deleted after you restart your computer. You can't click ok and ignore this, you need to restart so the anti virus program can finish.
Which reminds me - I don't know how to "clean up" any viruses if they're are any - or how to run a scan, either. The lady who set up the computer told me not to worry about any of that, and that the antivirus program automatically does all that on its own....

I'm surprised that the lady who bought us our computer told me that she always leaves her computer on, and never shuts it down. I guess she probably doesn't know any better - I don't know. Her son is supposed to be a computer "expert", and she gets all her information from him. When the first computer crashed, he said it was toast and couldn't do anything with it. But my son was able to get it running again when he came to visit last summer. It makes me wonder just how much of an expert our friend's son really is..
post #23 of 25
"Safe Mode" was probably inappropriately named. "Core services" or "Minimal configuration" are probably more descriptive. Leave it to Microsoft to figure out yet another way to obfuscate their software.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
I'm surprised that the lady who bought us our computer told me that she always leaves her computer on, and never shuts it down. I guess she probably doesn't know any better - I don't know. Her son is supposed to be a computer "expert", and she gets all her information from him. When the first computer crashed, he said it was toast and couldn't do anything with it. But my son was able to get it running again when he came to visit last summer. It makes me wonder just how much of an expert our friend's son really is..
He probably knows enough to keep his computer running, but not how to fix more technical stuff.

Your virus scanner will automatically monitor some things, but you still need to do a thorough scan or set it up to scan when the computer is not in use (at night/early morning). What you do go to start menu > all programs > avast! Antivirus, click on that. You can let it run the memory test or you can cancel that and skip ahead. Read the "simple user interface" instructions in the window that pops up, they will help you. Behind that window will be the scanner gui - it's skinned to almost look like a music player, most of it is self explanatory, but click on stuff to learn where everything is. Tell it what and where to scan, choose a thorough scan, then go wander off to do something away from the computer.
Follow instructions after or if it finds anything. Restart your computer. Done.

Since you seem to run into trouble, do this at least once a week and make sure to restart after.

Look up how to use "restore points in xp", this can let you back up to a safe point if something happens. But you must make sure you're virus free when these are saved.

Do you have a spyware remover? If not, AVG makes a decent free one. Again this should be run once a week or so.

Talk to your son. He may be able to suggest or send you an easy to understand book for learning how to use your computer. Chances are you'd probably learn a bit better if you have it in a book format that you could reference and read while away from the computer.
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
He probably knows enough to keep his computer running, but not how to fix more technical stuff.

Your virus scanner will automatically monitor some things, but you still need to do a thorough scan or set it up to scan when the computer is not in use (at night/early morning). What you do go to start menu > all programs > avast! Antivirus, click on that. You can let it run the memory test or you can cancel that and skip ahead. Read the "simple user interface" instructions in the window that pops up, they will help you. Behind that window will be the scanner gui - it's skinned to almost look like a music player, most of it is self explanatory, but click on stuff to learn where everything is. Tell it what and where to scan, choose a thorough scan, then go wander off to do something away from the computer.
Follow instructions after or if it finds anything. Restart your computer. Done.

Since you seem to run into trouble, do this at least once a week and make sure to restart after.

Look up how to use "restore points in xp", this can let you back up to a safe point if something happens. But you must make sure you're virus free when these are saved.

Do you have a spyware remover? If not, AVG makes a decent free one. Again this should be run once a week or so.

Talk to your son. He may be able to suggest or send you an easy to understand book for learning how to use your computer. Chances are you'd probably learn a bit better if you have it in a book format that you could reference and read while away from the computer.

I really think I ought to buy one of those "Computer For Dummies" books for future reference.

The very first thing I do now when I go on the computer is run the antivirus program through Avast: I don't even wait till I go online anymore where it's done automatically. So I'm somewhat aware of the "music player" thingy that pops up. I did play around with it a little and opened up the virus chest thingy to see if there were any viruses in there, but there wasn't. I don't want to play around with it too much though, b/c I don't know what I'm doing.

I don't know if I have a spyware program or not. How do I find that out?

Everytime I ask my son about something, he says, "Mom, you worry too much!" (like when I informed him of the IE flaw). Yeah, well, what's your point? That's what mothers are supposed to do! This coming from the same guy who probably won't let his daughter/my granddaughter date till she's thirty-something..


Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
He probably knows enough to keep his computer running, but not how to fix more technical stuff.
He's now working for the Army, doing that "technical computer stuff." Isn't that a scary thought!
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