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British government ignores MS browser fears

France, Germany line up to bash Internet Explorer

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France and Germany have already told their citizens to avoid Microsoft's Internet Explorer because of a critical hole in the browser, so what does the British government think?

The problem emerged late last week and both governments reacted with a simple warning - use another browser until this is fixed.

Three days later and still no response from the British government. We're still waiting to hear back from Lord Mandy's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The weakness is in older versions of Internet Explorer like 6 and 7 which were running Windows XP SP3. The code has now been released making it fairly simple for an attacker to exploit the hole.

Microsoft confirmed that the hole was used in the attacks against Google and 33 other companies believed to come from China.

At its most extreme it would let an attacker run code on your machine.

If you don't want to ditch IE altogether then at least running it in safe mode, with ActiveX and JavaScript turned off, will reduce the dangers.

Internet Explorer is the default browser on government computers. It would be a big job for them to all be changed overnight, but surely the government could offer some advice on keeping the rest of us safe?

The gaping hole might seem like bad news for Microsoft, but most IE users will probably remain unaware of the problem. If enough of them do notice then it might provide a bit of a boost for Firefox and Google's Chrome - currently being heavily advertised in the UK.

Microsoft is still working on plugging the hole which, so far at least, has been used to target corporations rather than individuals. ®

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