US govt cyber experts advise browser switch

[Published on 2 July, 2004]
The United States government's cyberdefence experts, along with other computer
gurus, are urging users to consider a switch away from Microsoft's widely used
Internet Explorer (IE) because of new security problems.
The unusual - and for Microsoft, highly embarrassing - warning comes because
of a security hole that has allowed hackers to surreptitiously install software
on hundreds of websites that use Microsoft's Web server programs.
That, in turn, downloads spyware programs to personal computers, including
one that steals credit card numbers and other forms of financial information.
Most anti-virus software have been updated to block the specific program,
the JS.Scob Trojan, but Microsoft has not, so far, been able to inoculate IE
against the broad technique.
None of the most prominent alternative browsers, Opera, Mozilla or Netscape,
is vulnerable to the flaw. Nor are computers running Linux or the Macintosh
operating systems.
Another new threat emerged this week that might compromise the passwords and
account information of users who bank online.
It targets users of IE and can be picked up from pop-up ads that secretly
download software capable of capturing users' keystrokes.