Users should consider alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser, according to Germany's Federal...
Office for Information Security (BSI).
But the agency did not recommend that users steer clear of Microsoft products, BSI spokesman Michael Dickopf said.
"Microsoft products are the target of many virus writers," he said. "If computer users want to avoid viruses and Trojans, they may want to consider using alternatives to Microsoft software."
However, Dickopf said, BSI "did not issue any warning against using Microsoft products".
In the German daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung, Dickopf was one of several experts interviewed on the topic of computer viruses and worms, and on recent phishing attacks in the country.
The BSI spokesman was paraphrased as saying that he "indirectly advised" internet users to switch from IE to Mozilla or Opera browsers. He was directly quoted saying that, "Whoever doesn't use Internet Explorer can't be affected by these viruses and worms."
The IT industry is closely monitoring the procurement behaviour of governments. These have traditionally been big users of Microsoft products but increasingly are becoming interested in the use of open-source alternatives to save money and reduce security risks.
The German government has been at the forefront of promoting the use of open source software in the public sector. Cost has been the key driver for its support of Linux and other open source products. But over the past year, security has also become an issue.
Microsoft has responded to the developments by offering discounts to the country's vast public sector and agreeing to provide special assistance with software security.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service