France warns against Internet Explorer use
Published 18/01/2010 | 14:11
France has followed Germany's lead, and has advised computer users to download a different web browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer was found to contain a critical security flaw.
The French government issued an advisory to computer users, recommending that they switch to a different web browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome. It follows a similar move by the German government, after it was discovered that Internet Explorer contained a serious security flaw that could be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals.
Microsoft last week admitted that its Internet Explorer browser was the weak link in recent attacks by hackers who pried in to the email accounts of human rights activists in China. But the company said that the German government had over-reacted about the threat posed by the vulnerability, and that general users were not at risk.
But that did not stop the French government issuing a bulletin through Certa, a government agency responsible for managing and protecting against cyber threats. The bulletin said that all versions of Internet Explorer were affected by the security flaw, and recommended that people use an alternative browser.
However, security experts say that computer users should only use a different web browser if they are confident they know what they're doing.
"My advice is to only switch from Internet Explorer if you really know what you are doing with the browser you're swapping to," said Graham Cluley, a senior security advisor at Sophos. "Otherwise it might be a case of 'better the devil you know'. Every browser has its security issues, so switching may remove this current risk but could expose you to another.
"My guess is that Microsoft will be working hard to release an out-of-band patch for the vulnerability. They will be keen to fix the serious security problem before more damage is done to Internet Explorer's reputation."