Engineers at FireEye discovered this security problem with Internet Explorer on Friday. They immediately alerted Microsoft, but so far, there's no fix.
Zheng Bu helped uncover the flaw that impacts Internet Explorer versions six through 11. A hacker can gain access if you click on a bad link and have control of your computer. Hard drive, key strokes, Internet history, everything can be exposed.
"The security firm that discovered the flaw says the problem is really targeted at defense industry and financial industries, so chances are Mom and Pop aren't going to be targets, but that doesn't mean they can't be exploited," said Seth Rosenblatt, CNET's senior news writer.
In a very rare move, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning Monday telling people to stay away from Internet Explorer until Microsoft develops a fix. Microsoft typically releases patches on the second Tuesday of the month. They didn't give a timeline for this fix, but sent ABC7 News a statement that reads in part, "At this time we are aware of limited targeted attacks. We encourage customers to follow the suggested mitigations outlined in the security advisory while an update is finalized."
Some computer users in a South Bay coffee shop aren't taking any chances. One customer said if they don't know what they're clicking on, they don't click it. Another customer said he was advised to use Mozilla.
Advice security experts echo the easiest way to stay safe is simply make a browser switch.