For those still on Microsoft Internet Explorer, perhaps now would be a good time to consider other options.  Hackers have found a hole in IE’s security that stretches through versions 5 through 8 beta, and experts have a fix — find another browser:

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed.

The flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say. …

Microsoft says it has detected attacks against IE 7.0 but said the “underlying vulnerability” was present in all versions of the browser.

Other browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, are not vulnerable to the flaw Microsoft has identified.

Microsoft says it will have an emergency patch ready quickly to end the exploit of its system.  They disagreed with recommendations to stop using the browser, saying — I’m not making this up — “I cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw,” said John Curran, head of Microsoft UK’s Windows group. One flaw?  That’s a might big singularity, and the fact that it doesn’t occur on other browsers and that it does on several versions of IE reflects poorly on Microsoft’s programmers and researchers.

I stopped using IE a few months ago.  It’s easier for me to use two different browsers, one for web surfing and the other for blog management tools.  I prefer Firefox for the latter, but used to use IE for surfing until I became so frustrated with its bugs and hangs that I just couldn’t stand using it.  I flirted with Safari, which also was a bit buggy but not bad.  Later, I settled on Opera and have had no problems at all with its operation.  It’s now my default browser.

After this, I suspect that more people will find their way to alternate browsers.  They’ll be pleasantly surprised, and Microsoft may not get them back.

Update: On the other hand, Bit9 has named Firefox the most vulnerable Windows application.  IE doesn’t even get a mention.