(NEW YORK) — Getting around Internet Explorer, a popular workplace browser, may be unavoidable even as Microsoft works to patch a bug that could allow hackers to take complete control of users’ computers.
“It’s definitely something users need to be concerned about,” Bill Carey, vice president of marketing at Siber Systems, a Fairfax, Va.-based software company, told ABC News.
All it takes is clicking on one malicious link in Internet Explorer to allow hackers the opportunity to completely take over your computer, according to warnings issued earlier this week by Microsoft and the Department of Homeland Security.
If you can’t avoid Internet Explorer, Carey offered a few tips for making sure you stay safe online:
Update Your Software
Make sure you’re current on your software updates so any security loopholes are closed. People using the 12-year-old Windows XP operating system are especially vulnerable since Microsoft announced earlier this month it would no longer provide technical assistance and automatic updates to protect users’ PCs. Consider upgrading your operating system.
Close Your Browser
When you’re done using a website, log off and close your browser. This will help prevent others from gaining access to your account.
Control Your E-Mail
Have a disposable e-mail address. Only give your actual e-mail address out to people who need it. Carey said this will help you avoid mass spam and keep your inbox clean.
Have a Strong Password
Carey advises using a “keystroke” method for making passwords and creating a “keyboard mapping system.” One key to the left and one up would make the password “tinmen” change to “47gh2g.”
Disable E-Mail Photos
Disable pictures on your email and read it in plain text. The sender will not be able to identify whether or not you have opened the e-mail, Carey said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN