Anyone with a modicum of tech savvy knows to avoid Internet Explorer 6 like the plague (actually more so, we've cured the plague) - but for everyone else...
Following its unfortunate role in the Chinese Google hacks, Microsoft has made a formal statement about the vulnerabilities of the aged browser and also suggested - guess what? - don't use it!
"Microsoft is aware of public exploit code released that impacts customers using Internet Explorer 6 and of limited, targeted attacks attempting to use this vulnerability against Internet Explorer 6. As a result of the reports we released an update to Security Advisory 979352 to alert customers and provide actionable guidance and tools to help with protections against exploit of this IE vulnerability."
"Customers using Internet Explorer 8 are not affected by currently known attacks and exploits due to the improved security protections in IE8," it continued. "Microsoft teams are continuing to work around the clock on an update and we will take appropriate action to protect customers when the update has met the quality bar for broad distribution. That may include releasing an out-of-cycle security update. Obviously, it is unfortunate that our product is being used in the pursuit of criminal activity. We will continue to work with Google, industry leaders and the appropriate authorities to investigate this situation."
Microsoft will issue further updates via its 'Security Response Center Blog'.
Of course all of this could have been avoided had consumers (and most predominantly) companies upgraded their PC browsers - but, unfortunately, this is easier recommended than followed. We're no big fans of Internet Explorer (6 or otherwise) at TrustedReviews and you'll find most tech enthusiasts aren't. Given its massive install base it is the first point of attack for hackers who also know it is the browser of choice for most casual users who don't know about the alternatives.
Of these in terms of performance, stability, use of system resources (especially for older machines) and overall simplicity I'd recommend Google Chrome - especially the latest beta. But whatever your browser choice the key message is simple: don't make it Internet Explorer 6.
Update: This much needed patch for IE6 is now out. Microsoft TechNet has details.
IE6 Patch (Don't patch it - upgrade)