12 On Your Side: Feds warn Internet Explorer users about vulnerability

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / April 29, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- If you own a computer, you have good reason to be worried about the latest internet security threat. "I have pretty much everything on there. It is pretty much my life. I run my accounts through there," said Cody Stringfield.

He owns Aloma Services, a government contracting company. Stringfield said he is concerned that if his computer gets hit by the latest hacker attack, it could put the young entrepreneur out of business. "All my contracts and invoices, so it would be a big deal if I lost all that," said Stringfield.

Mark Baggett is a leading computer security expert at Fort Gordon. He said now the internet vulnerability is aimed at the U.S. government. "To gain access to intelligence and things they can use to bolster their own economy," said Baggett who said he believed the vulnerability stems from hackers in China.

However, he said within the next 72 hours it is likely there could be enough awareness about the computer bug, allowing it to be reproduced by thousands of attackers. Baggett said Windows versions 6 through 11 are vulnerable. "It will be used for doing the normal things we see attackers do," said Baggett.

For example, things like breaking into computers, stealing user names, passwords, and even recent tax filing information. Microsoft has not announced if it will release an emergency patch or wait until May 13, when its next scheduled security update is expected. Windows XP users are out of luck.

"If you are using Windows XP at your home then there's never going to be a patch that you can install on your computer that will make this problem go away," said Baggett.

For now Stringfield will be waiting and hoping the problem will be fixed soon. "It makes me nervous. it makes me really nervous," said Stringfield. If you are using Windows XP it is even worse because you cannot do the updates once the security patch is available. Also if you are wondering about your smartphone,

Baggett said most smartphones use other browsers, but if you have a Windows-based phone, you could be vulnerable.