Microsoft has released an emergency patch for its ageing Internet Explorer browser to fix a bug that hackers have used to exploit web users.
The US tech giant warned users that cyber thieves could use the bug to take over people’s devices and install malware.
“An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights,” Microsoft said.
Hackers could lure users to click on booby-trapped webpages that host malware to exploit the bug, giving cyber criminals control of their victim’s system.
Versions nine to 11 of Internet Explorer are affected.
Satnam Narang, a senior research engineer at cyber security company Tenable, explained the bug could give hackers “the same privileges as the current user”.
“An attacker would have to host the exploit on a malicious website and socially engineer a user into opening that website in Internet Explorer. In the case of a targeted attack, an attacker could include a link to the malicious website in an email or in a malicious email attachment,” he added.
Net Market Share stats show 8.3 per cent of computers still use Internet Explorer, making it the third most popular web browser behind Chrome and Firefox.