Clicking on one malicious link in Internet Explorer may be all it takes for hackers to hijack your computer, according to warnings issued today by Microsoft and the Department of Homeland Security.
Federal officials advised that people should avoid using Internet Explorer browser versions six to 11 until Microsoft has successfully patched the glitch.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness team said the vulnerability "could lead to the compromise of an affected system."
The latest flaw works by tricking users into visiting a malicious website that then quietly installs malware, turning control of the system over to hackers, according to the Microsoft security advisory
Internet Explorer is the top browser, accounting for nearly 58 percent of users last month, according to NetMarketShare.
Mozilla's FireFox and Google Chrome round out the other most popular browsers.
People using the 12-year-old Windows XP operating system are especially vulnerable since Microsoft announced earlier this month it would no long provide technical assistance and automatic updates to protect users' PCs.
"If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses," the company said on its website and encouraged users to upgrade their operating systems.