The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday issued an alert recommending that people avoid using Internet Explorer to surf the Web until a solution is found for the attacks staged over the weekend that take advantage of a bug in the program.

The department's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or CERT, urged users to consider some alternative for navigating the Web until further notice.

Over the past weekend, several specialized agencies and companies issued an alert about hacker attacks on the search engine Internet Explorer - the property of Microsoft - by means of a "worm" that takes advantage of a bug in the program unknown until now.

CERT indicated that the vulnerability of Internet Explorer is being actively exploited, a vulnerability that affects all versions of the search engine from 6 to 11, and which can lead to the "complete compromise" of the affected system.

This is the first high-risk alert issued for Microsoft software since the U.S. firm stopped providing security updates for its Windows XP operating system last April 8, so that computers still using that system are defenseless against these hacker attacks.

According to the specialized firm NetMarketShare, Internet is the most heavily used Internet search engine in the world, used by almost 58 percent of all cybernauts in 2014, far more than the 18 percent for Google Chrome and 17 percent for Mozilla Firefox.

CERT says that as yet it has no practical solution for this problem, though besides recommending the use of another search engines, it also advises using the free Microsoft EMET tool for protection against hacker attacks.

The "worm" used to take advantage of the search engine's debility was said last Saturday by the Internet security company FireEye as able to control a computer's software once it has makes a successful attack.

Meanwhile, Microsoft confirmed the attacks on its blog Sunday and said it is working on providing a "fix" for the problem as soon as possible. EFE