Microsoft over the weekend admitted to a huge vulnerability in Internet Explorer that allow hackers to set up malicious websites in order to gain complete access to visitors’ PC, provided they visited the page with a IE (version 6 and up). From there, hackers could install apps, break into other accounts and generally use the computer as their own.
In order to protect yourself from the flaw — dubbed “Operation Clandestine Fox” by security firm FireEye — the best thing you can do is stop using Internet Explorer until Microsoft patches it. Other browsers, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, don’t have the problem, and you can export your bookmarks and other settings to those browsers very easily.
If you don’t want to stop using IE, there are ways to ensure you’re not exposed while browsing the web. Ever since IE10, the browser has offered an Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM). You won’t be vulnerable to the bug with EPM enabled, according to FireEye, and it’s listed as one of the workarounds Microsoft recommends on its explainer page. The following video explains how to do it:
You can also disable Adobe Flash. Disabling IE’s Flash plug-in will stop the bug cold, FireEye says — although that will also render your browser powerless to play Flash videos and games.