Many of you may have heard of the China-based attacks on Google and other U.S. companies this week. The vulnerability behind the attacks is commonly known as the zero-day hole. And it is a vulnerability in the Microsoft browser only.
The effected versions of the browser are Internet Explorer (a.k.a IE) 6, 7 and 8. And all the most recent versions of the Windows operating system are effected as well... including Windows 7.
But even if you haven't heard of the China-based attacks, you may find out about the 'zero-day hole soon. That's because the code that exploits this vulnerability was released on the Internet this week. Yes, the bad guys don't seem to think they've caused enough trouble yet. So, they've put the code out there for every hacker to use. It is quite likely that we will see new attacks that effect the general public coming very soon. And Microsoft does not have a fix (patch) out yet.
This might be a good time to check out other browsers. My favorite is Firefox. Use this link (http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/personal.html) to download Firefox. You will also be introduced to the many ways to customize Firefox. There are literally thousands of plug-ins and add-ons for this browser. And it is more secure and friendlier to use than Internet Explorer.
If you decide to stick to IE, I would recommend extreme caution when browsing to sites you don't know. And update as soon as has that latest patch ready. (Of course that's always good advice with any Microsoft product).