In mid-December, Google faced highly sophisticated cyber attacks originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. In response to the attacks, Google had announced that, it may shut down their Chinese search engine Google.cn and close down their operations in China.
McAfee, the Internet Security firm, said that, the cyber attacks on Google and 20 other businesses in the US exploited a previously unknown flaw in Internet Explorer browser.
Those who engineered the attacks tricked employees into clicking on a link to a website that secretly downloaded sophisticated malicious software onto their PCs through a campaign that the hackers apparently dubbed “Operation Aurora“. The programs allowed the hackers to take control of the PCs without the knowledge of their users.
Microsoft later confirmed the flaw, and sent out an advisory to users to help mitigate the problem. It is still working on a patch that would solve it. Microsoft acknowledged and determined that Internet Explorer was one of the vectors used in targeted and sophisticated attacks against Google and other corporate networks.
According to McAfee, all recent versions of Internet Explorer for the Windows operating system, including Windows 7, are vulnerable. Using Internet Explorer in “protected mode” with security settings at “high” would limit the impact of the vulnerability.
Adobe Systems has confirmed that it has also been attacked, and is still investigating the matter.