Todays article gets a little more serious and is typical of problems at this time of the year. Nearly every year just before Christmas we see a new virus, malware or some sort of exploit. In this case it is a Java exploit within Internet Explorer, and it is affecting a surprising number of people. So what is the story here?
Firstly, Internet Explorer is an Internet Browser (a software application) manufactured by Microsoft which first appeared as Version 1 way back in 1995. There have been many updates to this software since – all the way to version 11 which was released in 2013. There have been no updates since as Microsoft is pushing its latest Internet browser under the name of Edge. Edge has not been well received and we do not recommend it.
If you are going to browse the Internet then at least you need to be using a secure up-to-date browser, so we are currently recommending Google Chrome and have done for at least the last 6 years. Google Chrome as an Internet Browser software package often gets confused with Google’s search engine, which also needs some explaining.
The Google search engine is a site on the Internet that is very popular and useful for searching. Here I am talking about searching for a phone number, a car part, a historic event, the cure for a sore foot, what your stars are saying for this week or what the weather is doing today in the South of France. You name it – you can search for it using the Google search engine.
We have been setting Googles search engine (www.google.com.au) as the default home page in Internet browsers, including Internet Explorer and now Google Chrome for the last 20 years. It is very free of advertising rubbish and has always been an active site. I remember when BigPond sent a CD with every dial-up modem that made their site your home page and I would receive calls from customers worried about their Internet being down when it was just the BigPond site that was not responding.
There are other good up-to-date Internet browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, however we like to stick to one that we become inherently familiar with and as such we have chosen Chrome. Google Chrome is also a free download and is compatible with every recent version of Windows. Now back to the problem!
Internet Explorer has often needed a piece of ‘plug-in’ software called Java which enabled users to browse Internet sites which were largely designed with Java software in mind. This has been changing lately and Java software will entirely disappear next year. As of yesterday – Friday the 20th of December, hackers have found another insecure loophole in the Java software and are exploiting it with a ransom type notice.
Anyone still using Internet Explorer is likely to receive this pop-up message telling them “Your Windows Version is out of date and we are going to delete all your system files” ! Please ignore this message and you may have to turn your computer off and back on again to get past it. Do not continue to use Internet Explorer – it is too old.
People need to realise that IT never stands still. Regardless of whether you like some particular software or not, if it is out-of-date then STOP using it and move on.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.
We have developed a brilliant self-help troubleshooting section on our website – so if you are having computer problems, but can still browse the web, please check it out. Click here to go to Kerr Solutions IT Troubleshooting
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Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you all!