Security company McAfee says that the recent attack on Google and the email accounts of various human rights activists involved an Internet Explorer exploit, rather than an infected PDF as previously thought.
The attack, now being called ‘operation Aurora’, which came from China and is suspected to have originated with the Chinese government, has seen Google announce that it will no longer censor it’s search service in China and threaten to close operations in the country altogether.
McAfee has been quoted as saying that Internet Explorer is vulnerable to similar attacks on all Microsoft operating systems.
It is reported that the attack was based on a phishing scam which encouraged recipients to visit a Web site which then secretly downloaded malicious software onto their computers, allowing them to be accessed remotely.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, commenting on the attack said that Microsoft "need[s] to take all cyber attacks, not just this one, seriously .... We have a whole team of people that responds in very real time to any report that it may have something to do with our software, which we don't know yet."
Microsoft says it may issue a special patch for Internet Explorer to deal with the vulnerability. Meanwhile, advice on how to protect your computer against these intrusions can be found here.