The Information System Authority (RIA) is advising people to temporarily avoid using Internet Explorer until the arrival of new security patches.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of a critical security vulnerability published in mid-December that allows malware to be sent to the computers of Internet Explorer users, the RIA said. As there are currently no security patches for regular users, the RIA is recommending that people temporarily avoid using Internet Explorer until new ones are available.
Criminals can take advantage of the security vulnerability by adding some malicious code to some websites. When an Internet Explorer user visits this page, the malware is installed on the computer without the user's knowledge, which could spy on them or encrypt their files, for example.
Microsoft has not yet fixed the security vulnerability, but this will likely be done in mid-February; it is customary for Microsoft to carry out updates on the second Tuesday of every month.
"We all probably know someone who still uses Internet Explorer out of habit — now would be a good time to warn them about this security vulnerability," said Tõnu Tammer, director of the RIA's Incident Response Department. "In the end, no browser is better than others, but for now, this threat has to be taken seriously."
To avoid this risk, the RIA recommends using other browsers. For example, Microsoft has introduced a new browser called Edge in recent years, which is not affected by this security vulnerability. Microsoft no longer offers security updates for Windows 7, however, and users of this version should be certain to upgrade to Windows 10.
Internet Explorer is web browser accompanying all Microsoft Windows operating systems and is the third most popular internet browser, used by more than 7 percent of all internet users worldwide. Google Chrome remains the most popular browser, in use by 67 percent of internet users.
Editor: Aili Vahtla