If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, IE5, IE6 or earlier versions of this browser to surf the internet, and/or Outlook or Outlook Express for your email, it is important to keep up to date with Security Alerts & Bulletins released by Microsoft to ensure that you keep your copies of IE and Outlook patched to ensure your PC is as safe as possible.
In Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-066, released on 20 November 2002, Microsoft address 6 new vulnerabilities found in Internet Explorer 5 series and Internet Explorer 6. Microsoft only support (meaning provide updates and help for) IE5 series and IE 6 so they do not comment as to whether the security vulnerabilities apply to earlier versions of the browser.
Microsoft Security Bulletins can be viewed at
Microsoft Security Bulletins may seem a bit intimidating at first glance because they use computer terminology, to ensure accuracy in their technical descriptions, but if you read it through slowly, looking out for the name and version of your software (in this case the software is Internet Explorer) you'll be able to work out if your computer is affected.
The bulletins do tell you how to ascertain the version of the software you are running and give you the opportunity to read more in depth technical information or proceed to Windows Update to obtain an automatic update.
For a less technical and more straight forward explanation of these security vulnerabilities you can check out the James Madison University's security site http://www.jmu.edu/computing/security/. The site discusses, in fairly plain English, a range of security issues and deals with this particular problem on http://www.jmu.edu/computing/security/info/iehot.shtml. It not only explains the problem but shows, using very good graphics, how to set up your copy of Outlook and Outlook Express to give you the best possible security coverage.
Hackers and computer virus makers tend to targetMicrosoft products because they are in very widespread use and are often set up to automatically do things for you. Most of the vulnerabilities found in IE do not apply to Netscape and likewise email clients (that is a programme that reads your email for you) such as Pegasus are rarely affected or targeted.
Both Netscape and Pegasus Version 4.31 for Windows can be downloaded for free.
Pegasus Version 4.31 for Windows from here 5912kb and Netscape from http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/default.jsp but if IE and Outlook are your preferred choice of software DO ensure you keep them up to date and patched.