SAN FRANCISCO — The Department of Homeland Security is advising Americans not to use the Internet Explorer browser until a fix is found for a serious security flaw that was brought to light during the weekend.
The bug was announced on Saturday by FireEye Research Labs, an Internet security software company based in Milpitas, Calif.
“We are unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” the Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a post.
It recommended that users and administrators “consider employing an alternative Web browser until an official update is available.”
Because the hack uses a corrupted Adobe Flash file to attack the victim's computer, users can avoid it by turning off Adobe Flash.
“The attack will not work without Adobe Flash,” FireEye said. “Disabling the Flash plugin within IE will prevent the exploit from functioning.”
FireEye said that the hackers exploiting the bug are calling their campaign “Operational Clandestine Fox.”
Microsoft confirmed that it is working to fix the code that allows Internet Explorer versions six through 11 to be exploited by the vulnerability. As of Monday, no fix had been posted.
About 55 percent of PCs run one of those versions of Internet Explorer, according to the technology research firm NetMarketShare.
The bug works by using Adobe Flash to attack a computer's memory.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.