What Is All This Computer Security Stuff At The Moment?

If it seems like we are in the midst of a bit of a maelstrom of computer and Internet security issues at the moment - you're right; we are. Let me take a couple of paragraphs to try and give the big picture, a high-level view.

Heartbleed - a programming error in a widely-used piece of software that is used to provide data encryption; the error has been patched, and now things are being cleaned up. This has affected a lot of email and other accounts, and will no doubt ripple out for a while yet.

Windows XP Support - official support for XP ended after the last "Patch Tuesday", and there is already a vulnerability affecting XP that will therefore not be patched. Going forward, it's likely that more flaws will be exploited and not patched.

Internet Explorer - overlapping with the Windows XP issue is a flaw in Microsoft's default browser, so far affecting versions 9, 10 and 11 (i.e. those in Windows 7 and 8), but would also be exploitable in Windows XP (IE versions 6, 7 and 8). Microsoft has not issued a patch yet, but has some ways to mitigate the problem.

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