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16 September, 2004

Another nail into Internet Explorer?

The BBC reports the emergence of a new virus vector: the way Windows and related programs display .jpg images.  A number of common packages are vulnerable, including MS Outlook, but Internet Explorer is an especial risk, since it's theoretically possible for someone to be infected merely by visiting a web page containing the specially-prepared images.

Those who have already installed Win XP SP2 should be protected, but that's SP2: the one which many organisations (including here at the University) have firmly instructed users not to install, due to compatibility problems.

The standard advice is that there's a patch available from Microsoft without having to install the full SP2, but I'd recommend also following the non-standard advice of dumping Internet Explorer outright and using a real browser such as Firefox.

I would still recommend installing the patch anyway. I would, but I can't. I just tried installing it myself and was able to download something which scans my PC and tells me if it's vulnerable. It is, so I was referred back to Windows Update... and SP2, which I'm not permitted to install. So much for a standalone patch.

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