Computer and software security company McAfee last week identified a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer as a key vector in the cyberattacks that hit Google and over 30 other companies in a high-profile, multi-staged and concentrated effort to hack into specific computer systems in order to obtain intellectual property.
Redmond has since issued a security advisory and later published its own risk assessment of the zero-day threat. This morning, McAfee announced that it is offering consumers and businesses further guidance on what it refers to as ‘Operation Aurora’.
And it’s bringing out the superlatives to describe the attacks.
George Kurtz, McAfee’s worldwide chief technology officer, has been blogging about how the browser vulnerability was exploited for the cyberheist and is now quoted in this morning’s press release as saying that it is the “largest and most sophisticated cyberattack we have seen in years targeted at specific corporations”.
Kurtz stops short of saying that the planet nearly stopped spinning, but refers to the attack as a “watershed moment in cybersecurity” that has “changed the world”.
McAfee, of course, has a commercial interest in spreading the word about the attack and how its security products can guard consumers and businesses from exploitation of the aforementioned Internet Explorer vulnerability, but the company is doing a service too, considering the fact that the code used to exploit the security hole has made its way to the public domain already.
Needless to say, this increases the risk of further, more widespread attacks significantly.
Detailed guidance is available at McAfee.com/OperationAurora.