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BBB warns consumers, businesses about cyber security

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation May 10 warned businesses in West Virginia and across the nation about the potential for a cyber security threat.

According to information from the Better Business Bureau, the FBI issued an advisory warning to consumers and businesses about the vulnerability of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser that could allow scammers access to and the opportunity to take over a user's computer. The threat includes computers used by individuals in their homes or business, as well as government computers. The threat is high, and BBB is urging those with Internet Explorer 8 to follow recommended steps to address the problem.

The problem was first announced May 9, and Microsoft released a temporary fix available at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2847140. Microsoft is working on a patch to undo the vulnerability, which does not affect earlier versions of IE.

"BBB recommends that everyone with Internet Explorer 8 apply the temporary fix immediately," said Ben Steinberg, chief information officer of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "If you are unsure which version you have, try running the fix, if you don't have IE8, the fix will stop running and let you know your system is not at risk. Microsoft will let you know when the patch is available, and you need to download that as soon as possible."

Steinberg said this is a good opportunity for the BBB to reinforce the importance of maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software on every computer, tablet and smart phone connected to the web. He also had advice for consumers.

"Consumers also need to be extremely cautious when clicking on links in email and social media messages, or opening email attachments," Steinberg said. "Scammers are very sophisticated in their techniques, and the results can be devastating: identity theft, loss of personal data, bank and credit card fraud. If you are not sure, don't click."