Microsoft: Switch from IE and your risk increases

Microsoft: IE8 all this bad publicity
Microsoft: IE8 all this bad publicity

Microsoft's Head of Security and Privacy in the UK has told TechRadar that people who jump ship from Internet Explorer after the recent spate of bad headlines risk ending up on a less secure browser.

With France and Germany both advising a move away from Internet Explorer, things are far from rosy for Microsoft's browser, and although the vulnerability has

only been used against IE6

, the company has not ruled out that something similar could be used against the later versions.

With Microsoft not prepared to give details of how soon a fix will be released, and advising people to leave the appalling IE6 and its successor for the latest version – IE8 – Microsoft's UK security chief Cliff Evans insists that a non-Microsoft browser is the worse option.

Less secure

"The net effect of switching [from IE] is that you will end up on less secure browser," insisted Evans.

"The risk [over this specific] exploit is minimal compared to Firefox or other competing browsers… you will be opening yourself up to security issues.

"There are broader risks and issues with other browsers."

Not representing

Evans believes that the coverage attached to the problem – which was namechecked by Google as it changed its China policy – is "not representing the situation".

"If you were to ask me 'what's the most secure browser?' I would say Internet Explorer 8 – we're talking about a single vulnerability," he added.

"The reality of the risk is minimal, even if you have IE6; you would have to go to a website running the exploit."

PR disaster

The whole Google IE flaw issue is clearly a PR disaster for Microsoft, with Evans conceding that this particular problem is not likely to afflict IE's rivals.

"I'm not aware that the vulnerability exists in other products," says Evans, "But those products may have other vulnerabilities."

Asked directly when a fix would be ready, Evans states that the rollout might or might not be before the normal upgrade cycle, but has no further details.

"We are working to provide an update to the vulnerability. We are not seeing any attacks on IE8."

In the meantime, the company will be hoping that the knee-jerk reaction of France and Germany is not mirrored elsewhere.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.