17 January 2010

Kein MSIE, bitte

The Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (Germany’s Federal Agency for Information Technology Security) has, the BBC reports, recommended that Germans stop using Microsoft’s infamously insecure Web browser, Internet Explorer. Being the curious type, I found the BSI’s Friday press release on the agency’s Web site. It warns (my translation):

A previously unknown security flaw exists in Internet Explorer. The vulnerability enables attackers, via a compromised Web site, to load and execute malicious code on a Windows computer.

According to the BBC:

Microsoft says the security hole can be shut by setting the browser's security zone to "high", although this limits functionality and blocks many websites.

Not to mention that, according to the BSI, one cannot completely prevent the attacks by following Microsoft’s advice. There is one fix, however: don’t use Internet Explorer. The BSI recommends that, until further notice, users change to einen alternativen Browser.

Treading lightly, the BSI is recommending the vorübergehende (passing) avoidance of Microsoft’s browser. Nonetheless, the American firm is not amused: denying that the flaws in its product – flaws which enabled Chinese hackers to break into human rights activists’ GMail accounts – present any danger to the general user (Chinese human rights activists not being general users or consumers, apparently), Microsoft do not support this warning (in the words of its spokesperson, as quoted by the BBC).

Myself, I’ve always found that denying a problem exists is usually the best way of dealing with things, so I’m glad that Microsoft is validating my position.

But those who feel otherwise (and are still using Windows) might want to check out einen alternativen Browser.

Update 2010-01-18 15:40Z: France’s Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information has also issued a bulletin d’alerte recommending l’utilisation d’un navigateur alternatif.

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