SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned of a massive hack of Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer, advising the public to use different browsers.

A division of Homeland Security said the security gap could allow an attacker to take complete control of your computer should you click on a link to a malicious web site.

According to the SANS Institute, Internet Explorer is responsible for about 55 percent of the PC browser market. SANS is a private U.S. company that specializes in Internet security training.

“This vulnerability affects every version of Internet Explorer, both on Windows XP and the newer operating systems,” said John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at SANS.

He said users of Windows XP face an additional challenge since Microsoft ended support of the older operating system earlier this month.

“For Windows XP users, pretty much the only solution is to just use a different browser. Use the Google Chrome browser or the Firefox browser,” he said.

Microsoft usually issues patches the first Tuesday of the month, which in this case is still a couple of weeks away.

Pescatore said in the meantime, major anti-viral companies are out with updates to their software to help protect the browser.

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