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Internet Explorer Vulnerability Announced. What You Need to Know.

A new vulnerability affecting all versions of Internet Explorer since version 6 has been discovered. This vulnerability would allow a hacker to remotely control your computer and gain access to files, email,
passwords, etc.

Here’s what you should know to protect yourself.
Microsoft has yet to announce when they will issue a patch so experts are advising people stop using Internet Explorer as their internet browser until a patch is released that will resolve this vulnerability. However, if you have Windows XP running on your computer you will not receive a patch, as Microsoft stopped support on that operating system less than three weeks ago. In that case it’s being advised that you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 to ensure you have full support as these vulnerabilities are discovered.

How could a computer become infected?
A hacker sets up a website that installs malware when you visit it. The only way to be exposed to this vulnerability is to visit one of these infected websites using Internet Explorer. So, visiting sites that you are not familiar with or clicking on unfamiliar links presented to you while browsing in Internet Explorer leaves you open to attack.

What should you do?
1. Stop using Internet Explorer until a patch is released from Microsoft. This attack does not affect other web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari.

2. Those using Windows XP should upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 as soon as possible to avoid these type of attacks because Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP and a patch will not be available to protect your PC.

3. If you must use Internet Explorer, it’s being recommended that you disable the Adobe Flash plugin as the attack will not work without Adobe Flash. The linked article explains how to do this – however be aware that disabling Adobe plugins may affect your internet browsing experience.

How does Heartland protect your financial security and what are few best practices we recommend?
1. We recommend you use a browser such as Chrome or Firefox to visit the Heartland website and online banking during this time.

2. Do not store passwords on your computer’s hard drive where they could be accessed if a hacker gained control of your PC.

3. Internally, Heartland employees have access to the Internet for business purposes only – reducing the risk of these type of vulnerabilities.

4. Heartland employees have alternative browsers installed on their PCs to mitigate risk when a specific browser is being threatened.

We work hard to protect your financial security and encourage you to monitor your accounts and notify us immediately at (651) 451-5160 or (800) 813-9185 if you identify unauthorized transactions.