Microsoft has swiftly released an emergency fix for a serious vulnerability that was discovered inside Internet Explorer, potentially allowing hackers access to systems using certain versions of the web browsing software.

This flaw works by driving users towards a specific website via a ‘phishing’ email, where they will then unknowingly be affected by malware that could provide hackers with access to their system.

“An attacker could then install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights,” Microsoft said in an update regarding the vulnerability.

The flaw affects older Internet Explorer versions including those found on Windows 7, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012, 2016 and 2019 versions of Explorer 11, Explorer 10 for Windows Server 2012 and Explorer 9 for Windows Server 2008, according to Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute.

If you’re looking to protect yourself from future attacks of this nature take a look at our recommendations for Internet Explorer alternatives. Google Chrome specifically is a more widely used browser with a better security track record.

If you’re worried about having a virus or malware on your computer, make sure you take a look at our best anti-virus deals just here. We also have an article on what to do if you need to remove a virus or malware from your PC or laptop.