Considering its wide-spread news coverage, I’m sure everyone is aware of the latest Internet Explorer bug. For the uninitiated, a security company discovered that a previously unknown bug in Internet Explorer was being used in a targeted hacking attack. This flaw allowed a computer to be infected with malware simply by visiting a compromised website. While a bug like this can be alarming, it really isn’t anything new. Such flaws are regularly exposed in web browsers (not only in Internet Explorer). So, what caused this attack to hit the mainstream press like it did? The Department of Homeland Security.
FireEye Security first discovered the attacks targeting Internet Explorer. The Department of Homeland Security then picked up on this and published an advisory in which they recommended that users temporarily use alternative web browsers. This recommendation was unusual, especially coming from such an influential group. The media immediately picked up on this out-of-the-ordinary guidance, and ran with it. As Adrienne Hall, the general manager of Microsoft’s trustworthy computing division, stated in her blog post, the media’s reaction to the bug in IE was overblown. Continue reading