German government: just say no to IE

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Due to a major security glitch in Internet Explorer, the German government is urging its citizens to avoid using the browser.

The country's Federal Office for Information Security issued a warning about a recently discovered bug in the software, which could lead to remote code execution. In Microsoft terms, that is the most dangerous type of attack possible because the exploit can be manipulated on a user's machine from anyone in the world.

As a result, the bureau is telling users to use other browsers, at least until the problem is fixed. For now, Internet Explorer's "weak point is already being used for targeted attacks," the governmental group said.

Microsoft spokesperson Thomas Baumgartner tried to downplay the threat, saying, "This is not a massive problem. There have been only a small number of targeted attacks."

Obviously everyone needs to be smart and take precautions when browsing the Internet or using any device that can connect online and thus is vulnerable to attacks.

Internet Explorer, though, is often the favorite target for hackers not only because of its large market share but also because its users are less likely to protect themselves. Because IE is the default option on Windows-based computers, anyone without the knowhow to download another browser will use IE. That means anyone with another browser has already proven to be a bit more technologically savvy.

That being said, it's rare for a government agency to issue such a warning, and this threat doesn't appear any more serious than any previous IE vulnerability.