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BBB TIPS, A COLUMN BY MARJORIE STEPHENS

Internet Explorer users are vulnerable to attack

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 8:20 am

This is a consumer advice column written by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. It appears Thursdays in Business.

A vulnerability in Microsoft's popular Internet Explorer Web browser can allow a “remote, unauthorized attack” on users' computer, the company announced over the weekend via a Service Advisory. Although it is working to fix the problem, the company suggests “workarounds.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, is urging computer users to employ Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit if possible or switch to a different browser until an official update is made available.

The “use-after-free” vulnerability can allow remote attackers to install code on a user's computer without authorization. Versions 6 through 11 of Internet Explorer are vulnerable, and users who still have the Windows XP operating system are at greater risk because the company is no longer supporting the product.

Better Business Bureau is joining with security experts in recommending that IE users take these steps:

•Download the EMET on your computer for additional protection (although it may not mitigate this particular vulnerability).

•Temporarily switch to a different Web browser, such as Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox.

•Disable Adobe Flash, as the attack may not work without it.

Windows XP users should upgrade their operating system or disconnect the computer from the Internet, as the company no longer supports this version of Windows.

Are you aware of BBB’s services?

The BBB would like to remind readers of the services it offers.

BBB's corporate office is in Fort Wayne at 4011 Parnell Ave. There, staff handle a variety of functions including dispute resolution, ad reviews, arbitrations, charity review, complaint publicizing, new accredited business processing, sales, billing and supervision of our eQuote program. Additionally, BBB has two area offices in the Mishawaka and Lake County areas that handle a variety of tasks. These tasks include doing media interviews, visiting businesses, participating in trade shows and building alliances with other organizations.

In March, we launched Customer Reviews. This will allow customers to share their positive marketplace experiences on the website. It provides customers the opportunity to voice favorable experiences they have had with local businesses.

These reviews will be posted once the reviewer's email address is verified for authenticity, personal and inappropriate text is redacted, and the business confirms the reviewer is an actual customer. BBB wanted to make certain that everything was in place before its launch. Businesses that receive customer reviews have the opportunity to submit replies directly on the review.

Another program available is our Request A Quote program. Consumers can go to www.bbb.org/ northernindiana/accredited -business-directory/get-a-quote to receive a quote from a BBB Accredited Business. Need a quote for landscaping, a reception location for an upcoming wedding, new carpet, carpet cleaning, roofing, painting, chimney maintenance, attorneys? This is a great place to turn to.

If you would enjoy getting our newsletters and, more important, alerts about possible fraudulent activity, send an email to chad@neindianabbb.org and he will see to it that the email address is added to our recipient list. Your BBB maintains a proactive role in letting consumers know before a suspicious activity hits our area or as soon as we hear a fraudulent activity has hit our area. If you have something you wish to report, give us a call.

Marjorie Stephens is the communications director for the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. Before you make a purchase, go to the BBB website at www.neindiana.bbb.orgor call 423-4433 or toll-free 1-800-552-4631 to check out a business.