Third-party security experts are recommending that Web surfers use a browser other than Microsoft’s (MS) Internet Explorer (IE) until a serious flaw in the application is fixed.

The flaw, which first surfaced about a week ago, allows cyber crooks to take control of victims’ machines by duping surfers into visiting Web sites rigged to download malicious programs. Most of those programs are apparently designed to steal user IDs and passwords for online computer games, which can command high prices on the black market.

Security experts are concerned that the technology will soon be adopted by cyber thieves interested in bigger game: credit card and bank-access information.

MS says it has detected attacks only on users of IE 7 thus far — but confirms that other versions of IE are also vulnerable to the ‘exploit’.

As for the cure? MS has only said that it’s working on it and may issue a rare ‘out of cycle’ patch when the problem is finally solved — which, they say, should be sometime today.

Stay tuned…

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