#AceSecurityNews – BOSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised computer users to consider using alternatives to Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer browser until the company fixes a security flaw that hackers have used to launch attacks.
The bug is the first high-profile security flaw to emerge since Microsoft stopped providing security updates for Windows XP earlier this month.
That means PCs running the 13-year old operating system could remain unprotected against hackers seeking to exploit the newly uncovered flaw, even after Microsoft figures out how to defend against it.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a part of Homeland Security known as US-CERT, said in an advisory released on Monday morning that the vulnerability in versions 6 to 11 of Internet Explorer could lead to “the complete compromise” of an affected system.
“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute warned in a separate advisory, that US-CERT linked to in its warning.
FireEye, whose Mandiant division helps companies respond to cyber attacks, declined to name specific victims or identify the group of hackers, saying that an investigation into the matter is still active.
“It’s a campaign of targeted attacks seemingly against U.S.-based firms, currently tied to defense and financial sectors,” said FireEye spokesman Vitor De Souza on Sunday. “It’s unclear what the motives of this attack group are, at this point.
It appears to be broad-spectrum intel gathering.”
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