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Homeland Security warning: Don't use Internet Explorer

Homeland Security warning: Don't use Internet Explorer

Windows XP users are now on their own, Microsoft warns. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

A security flaw uncovered in Internet Explorer is so serious that users should consider switching to a different browser for now, the Department of Homeland Security yesterday warned.

"We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," said the department's Computer Readiness Team, which recommends a browser change "until an official update is available," reports USA Today, which notes that users can also avoid hackers by turning off Adobe Flash.

Microsoft says that so far, it is only aware of "limited, targeted attacks" exploiting the flaw, which allows hackers to install malware on vulnerable computers, the New York Times reports.

Users of newer versions of Windows can probably expect a security patch soon, but XP users may be out of luck, since Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system earlier this month.

Lance Ulanoff at Mashable, however, says the flaw is so serious that it could be a mistake not to offer XP users one final patch.

"Windows XP users could be so disenfranchised that they simply switch to Macs and Microsoft ends up losing far more than it can gain by finally getting everyone off Windows XP," he writes.

Security firm Symantec, meanwhile, has offered XP users some protection tools on its blog.

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