Canada’s government, as well as Microsoft, suffers website meltdowns due to Spectre flaw

Government websites across the world were down for hours on Tuesday after a massive software flaw affected Internet Explorer and Firefox

The Quebec government has issued an apology and shut down several government websites after discovering a huge software vulnerability known as Spectre, affecting Internet Explorer and Firefox, and quickly the rest of the world’s Web browsers.

This is a problem of international magnitude. Here’s how to check your browser is impacted Read more

Montreal, the capital of the province of Quebec, has multiple sites that are affected – from the local offices to the business registry – as well as Quebec’s tourist attractions.

The statement read: “I regret to inform you that the websites of the Quebec government … have been rendered unable to be used for several hours. The situation has already been corrected.”

It said that “to avoid unexpected failures, the websites were disabled.”

It is not yet clear how many sites across the world are affected, but Microsoft has published a list of affected versions of its Internet Explorer, though to be clear, Spectre is only a major risk to the Microsoft browser and is not an issue with its non-IE Internet service. The full list of affected versions can be found here.

Scenario 1: If someone is using one of the affected Internet Explorer versions, then the bug will affect all Web pages served through it. If someone visits a Web page that uses JavaScript (which all sites used to do) they will be bombarded with exploits.

Scenario 2: If one is using an Internet Explorer 8 version or an Internet Explorer 10 version (which most sites use), then the bug will affect websites that utilize javascript but that are in IE8 or Internet Explorer 10, i.e. pages that use javascript will be vulnerable to exploit because they are using IE8 or IE10 as a base browser.

Scenario 3: If one is using a Firefox version from version 7.0 (the latest version) or 8.0, then the bug will affect websites that use JavaScript but are in the Firefox 6 build (though not the new Firefox 7 build).

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