[ISN] Germans develop nasty case of IE jitters

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Sep 14 05:16:57 EDT 2004


By Jan Libbenga
13th September 2004

Michael Dickopf, spokesman for the German Federal Office for
Information Security (BSI), has told the Berliner Zeitung that
internet users should switch from Internet Explorer to Mozilla or
Opera. Dickopf says Internet Explorer is hazard-prone, attracting too
many viruses and worms. BSI already uses a combination of alternative
browsers, Dickopf told the paper.

Dickopf's comments are bad news for Microsoft. BSI is the central IT
security service provider for the German government. Its
recommendations are usually taken extremely seriously.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Vzbv), a
non-governmental organisation acting as an umbrella for 38 German
consumer associations, also warns users to be careful when using
Internet Explorer. Online banking scams and identity theft are
proliferating in Germany due to security exploits in Microsoft's
browser or in its email client Outlook (Express). Recently, several
customers of Dresdner Bank have fallen victim to a Trojan horse
program, which snatched their banking passports.

Microsoft Germany denies that Internet Explorer is less safe than
other browsers and says that it offers patches as soon as an exploit
is discovered.

It isn't the first time that governmental agencies issue warnings
about Internet Explorer. In 2002 The Department of Homeland Security's
US Computer Emergency Readiness Team touched off a storm when it
recommended for security reasons using browsers other than Microsoft's
Internet Explorer.

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