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German government tells public to stop using Internet Explorer

Weekend security flaw discovery leads German authorities to urge citizenry to use alternative Internet browsers.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper

Update: 3:48 PM PT The fallout from this weekend's discovery of security holes in several versions of Internet Explorer continues to spread. The latest: Germany is urging its citizens to stop using Internet Explorer until there's a fix.

"A fast spreading of the code has to be feared," the German government's Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, said. The BSI recommended that users access the Internet using alternative Web browsers until Microsoft's security update becomes available.

It's unusual for a government to flatly urge its citizenry to stop using a popular tech product, such as Microsoft Explorer. The security hole could compromise computers IE users use when they surf to a malicious Web site. Microsoft said that it is aware of attacks that have tried to take advantage of this weakness.

Late Monday, Microsoft released a patch called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit until a full update is ready.

In a statement to CNET News.com, Yunsun Wee, director, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing said that there had so far "been an extremely limited number of attacks" and that "the vast majority of Internet Explorer users have not been impacted." He said that Microsoft expects to release a one-click fix "in the next few days."