Opera is now the only major web browser that still supports Windows XP and Vista. If you’re still using either of those operating systems and browse the web, you should definitely stop using Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, and switch to Opera. Browsing the web is dangerous enough without the added risk of using a browser that has known security vulnerabilities that will never be fixed.
Note that the most recent Opera version that supports Windows XP and Vista is 36. It wasn’t easy to find older versions on the Opera web site, but I eventually found a page that allows you to download any version by platform.
A recent update to Opera 36 addresses security issues that are specific to XP and Vista. The announcement doesn’t mention the actual new version number, but based on my research, it seems to be 36.0.2130.65.
If you’re using Opera on XP or Vista, make sure you install the new version. It should update itself automatically, but you can also download Opera 36.0.2130.65 directly.
I’ve tried to locate release notes for the new version, with no luck. According to the announcement, several security fixes previously applied to later versions were back-ported to Opera 36.
I don’t usually post about Apple software, but the QuickTime Player is installed on many Windows computers, so it falls into a kind of grey area.
Apple recently released an update for QuickTime to address at least nine vulnerabilities it exposes on Windows 7 and Vista computers. Anyone who uses QuickTime on Windows 7 or Vista should install the new version of QuickTime as soon as possible.
I no longer have QuickTime installed on my main computer. Downloaded QuickTime media files play in a combination of VLC and Windows Media Player. There’s no QuickTime player plugin in my my main web browser, either, but I don’t really mind not being able to see QuickTime media embedded in web pages. If I really need to see that content, I can always download it.
If you’re not sure whether you have QuickTime installed, or want to find out how QuickTime media is played on your computer, you can try playing these QuickTime sample media files.
Microsoft has issued a security advisory to users of Office on Windows Vista. A newly-discovered vulnerability in Microsoft Office versions 2003 through 2010, when running on Windows Vista, is already being exploited by nefarious hackers.
If you are using Office 2003 to 2010 on Windows Vista, you should take steps to protect yourself until Microsoft releases a patch for this vulnerability:
This vulnerability also affects Office 2003 through 2010 running on Windows Server 2008, but you shouldn’t be running desktop applications on server software anyway, right?
The MSRC blog has more information, as does an Ars Technica post on the subject.
Update 2013Nov09: apparently attacks based on this vulnerability are more widespread than was originally estimated.