German Government Condemns Internet Explorer

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The German government has warned against its web-browsing population using Internet Explorer, for security reasons.

According to the BBC, the warning comes from the Federal Office for Information Security. Microsoft has responded to the statement, pointing out that the risk to general users is actually quite slim, recommending that users, once again, enable the “high” security option that Internet Explorer offers. Still, with the warning having been issued the likelihood is that there are plenty of Germans on the lookout for a new browser.

This news comes just days after an exploit in Microsoft’s browser was found to have been one of the channels through which the by now infamous attack on Google in China was operated. Still, it’s well worth mentioning that Internet Explorer was by no means the only means of attack, with Microsoft itself fairly readily admitting that it was “one of the vectors” for that attack.

Of course, Microsoft’s statement to the effect that, “These were not attacks against general users or consumers… There is no threat to the general user, consequently we do not support this warning,” will be seen by many to be the browser market-leader attempting to keep its user base, but the fact is that Microsoft is, in this case, pretty much correct.

When McAfee found that an exploit in the company’s browser had been used in the Chinese attack, it also went on to point out that the attack was of a level of sophistication very rarely seen. Indeed, McAfee’s vice president of research, Dmitri Alperovitch, described the situation, saying, “We have never seen attacks of this sophistication in the commercial space… We have previously only seen them in the government space.”

For now, it seems as though individual users’ fears about Internet Explorer’s security (for this issue, at least) are relatively unfounded. If you’re using IE and you feel at risk, don’t hesitate to go for the high security option.

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