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French government advises caution over use of Internet Explorer

James Taylor

The French government has weighed-in over security concerns with Internet Explorer, with advice to the public to stop using the Microsoft browser.

The warning comes after the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) expressed concern over the security of the browser.

The French Expertise Center for Governmental Treatment Response and Computer Attacks (CERT) said: "Pending a patch from the publisher, CERT recommends using an alternative browser."

Internet Explorer's vulnerability could allow hackers to remotely access a user's computer if they visit malicious websites, say security experts.

Thomas Baumgaertner, a spokesperson for Microsoft in Germany, said: "There is no threat to the general user."

However Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "If your users aren't already familiar with the other browser, you may be causing more problems than it's worth.

"My advice is to only switch from Internet Explorer if you really know what you are doing."

The French CERT recommended that users switch on Deta Execution Prevention in Windows to prevent buffer overflow attacks.

It advised users who wish to continue using Internet Explorer to switch off support for JavaScript and ActiveX, as these components could allow rogue websites to run malicious code on a PC.

The warning comes after it was revealed last week that Internet Explorer allowed hackers in China to bypass Google's security.

Microsoft has said that the security problems can be fixed by setting Internet Explorer's security to 'high'. However, this feature renders some legitimate websites inaccessible.

In a Windows security statement
 report issued four days ago looking into the security flaw, Microsoft said: "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user."

The software company said it may release a fix for this issue through the Windows Update service over the next month.

Thomas Baumgaertner, a spokesman for Microsoft in Germany, said: "There is no threat to the general user and consequently we do not support this warning."

The UK government has not responded.


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