UK Government holds firm on IE6
The UK Government is continuing to use Internet Explorer, despite Microsoft confirming that Chinese hackers employed a flaw in the browser to attack Google.
The Cabinet Office was quizzed on its reaction to Microsoft’s revelation by The Guardian, and responded that “it doesn’t think the issue would be resolved any better by going elsewhere”.
This is despite France joining Germany in warning its citizens to find an alternative to the browser. “Pending a patch from the publisher, Certa [Germany’s cyber threat agency] recommends using an alternative browser,” the agency says.
Pending a patch from the publisher, Certa (Germany’s cyber threat agency) recommends using an alternative browser
According to a parliamentary question last year, the Ministry of Defence currently has 300,000 machines worldwide running Internet Explorer 6 – the browser used in the attack – “and at the current time does not have a requirement to move to an updated version”.
Microsoft has urged users to upgrade their browsers to Internet Explorer 8, despite acknowledging that it’s also vulnerable to the same security attack. However, the company has moved to reassure customers that they’re safe in its hands.
“We are only seeing very limited number of targeted attacks against a small subset of corporations,” Microsoft responded on its blog. “The attacks that we have seen to date, including public proof-of-concept exploit code, are only effective against Internet Explorer 6.”
Fears about browser security were sparked by Google’s threat to pull out of China, after it alleged that Chinese hackers had stolen company secrets and infiltrated the emails of human rights activists.