Everything was in place. Time to test internet sites. I typed in the first URL that came to mind, hit return and waited for the page to load. I could see, on the status bar, the loading page progress, but I got nothing but a blank page. Tried a couple of other URLs. Same results.
At first, the only resolutive suggestion I found was to uninstall IE8 and install IE7. I didn't like the idea. Tried harder and I came across this MacWindows.com post.
Now I knew that an IE patch would have fixed the issue. But which one?
Back to Google search engine I entered "Cumulative IE8 updates" into the search box. As expected, I got in return a plethora of links. I went for the first one in the list
and, YES, that did the trick :-)