Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have been advised to switch to another web browser until a major security flaw is fixed.
Computer security experts say that the flaw in Internet Explorer could allow criminals to hijack people’s computers and steal passwords.
Microsoft told us it is investigating the vulnerability of its browser and said it may fix the problem in its regular monthly security update or issue an emergency software patch
As many as 10,000 sites have already been compromised to take advantage of the flaw, said anti-virus software maker Trend Micro.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser and as such is a prime target for hackers.
The software giant told us: ‘Microsoft is investigating new public reports of attacks against a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Our initial investigation has shown these limited attacks are targeting customers using Internet Explorer 7, however the vulnerability affects all currently supported versions of Internet Explorer.
‘We are actively investigating this vulnerability and upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers, which may include providing a solution through our monthly security update release process, or an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs.’
Which? Computing security expert John Bogue said: ‘There is no such thing as 100% security in life and the internet is no different.
‘Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser so will be the biggest target for hackers.
‘Our advice is to take a multi-layer approach to security, which means having a firewall in place and updating your anti-virus and spyware software regularly.’
Internet Explorer users looking for an alternative could switch to Best Buy Firefox 3. The browser, in our latest tests, was found to be faster and safer than previous versions of Firefox.