Microsoft seems to be having a hard time lately, with government bodies in both France and Germany now having advised their relative web-based populations against the use the company’s web browser, Internet Explorer.
The criticisms of Internet Explorer from both France and Germany seem to stem from the revelation that a vulnerability in Internet Explorer was used during last week’s Chinese attack on Google, revealed during security firm McAfee’s investigation of the attack. Initially, Microsoft had responded to the criticism by pointing out that the security issue is easily solved by users changing their security settings to “High,” which should see them protected from the exploit in question.
Now though, according to a report from TechRadar, it seems the company has stepped things up a notch, saying in a recent statement that Internet Explorer still represents the safest browser available. Indeed, Microsoft took the time to single out Firefox for some tough love, with its UK security chief, Cliff Evans saying,
“The net effect of switching is that you will end up with a less secure browser… The risk [from this] exploit is minimal compared to Firefox or other competing browsers… you will be opening yourself up to security issues.
It’s certainly a strange position to see Microsoft in, but it’s not the first time that the company has pointed out that other browsers are less secure than Internet Explorer 8. Indeed, the fact that Internet Explorer controls the lion’s share of the browser market alone means that it’s a bigger target for any attempted attacks than anything else, if only by virtue of its large user base.
Still, given the manner in which it normally responds, we doubt the folks at Mozilla will be quiet after this, since Microsoft essentially called Firefox insecure…