Australian government joins in, warns users against IE

Last week, the government of Germany asked users to stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, due to a security flaw that could prove very dangerous. Since then, the French government has asked those who use the browser to switch to a new one immediately, just before the Australian government also warned its citizens of the flaw.

According to ABC News, the Australian government warned users to switch to another browser, or else remain at risk of having their passwords and information stolen. Mark Gregory, a senior lecturer in network engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne, said this was wise advice. He stated, "There are other browsers that are available, that appear to be being targeted less by the hackers and by these organizations than what Internet Explorer is being targeted. I don't think there was any interference in what they said that Internet Explorer was any more deficient in terms of security than any of the other browsers, just that it was being targeted more. On that basis, you'd have to argue that if security was a principal concern then using another browser would be wise until the incident is reduced."

Gregory also believes that governments and major industries are not well prepared for the threats on the Internet. The threats are changing constantly, and the Internet itself is unregulated, leaving it a dangerous place for those who aren't sure about what they're doing (and sometimes, even those who do). The Australian government's 'Stay Smart Online' initiative has posted instructions on how to lessen the threat, if one doesn't want to make the change to another browser.

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"There are other browsers that are available, that appear to be being targeted less by the hackers"

Well won't hackers realise that if more and more people are making the switch, then it is most effective and efficient use of their time to target the browser that eveyrone is on ? The ball will keep on rolling.

"Mark Gregory... He stated, 'There are other browsers that are available, that appear to be being targeted less by the hackers and by these organizations than what Internet Explorer is being targeted.'"
I really hope that this is not what he said exactly, because if it is, then he is a blathering idiot.

You can see how to mitigate the IE/Google security vulnerability using Group Policy at http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2010/01/how-to-mitigate-kb979352-a-k-a-google-china-security-vulnerability-using-group-policy/

I await some big news story about Firefox, Chrome or Safari causing a major security breach for some company. Swings and roundabouts. IE is getting the heat now and in the long should be a good thing, the death of IE6 and 7 but the other browsers will get the bad limelight eventually as more people use them.

As I said with all the other ones like this.. Who here cares what their Government thinks or says on regards to what browser they use ? Really ? Anyone ?

I'm surprised they didn't ban it. I'm seriously starting to hate the country I was born, and live in. They ban games for stupid reasons, the internet here sucks 60% and it's overpriced.

Our govenment has no idea what there on about IMO...

AUS is always going to drag behind what everyone else said... Anyway this is some guy who works at a UNi..

No browser is safe... But IE8 is prob safest or just as safe as all other forms of browsers.

So why then does the Australian Taxation Office, the largest Australian Government departmental organisation, still run 20,000 odd computers with Internet Explorer 6 under XP?

A bit hypocritical when many Australian government departments still use IE6 and have no immediate plans of upgrading any time soon. Too many business critical applications are still used with it. Unfortunately its not just a matter of hitting the upgrade button for a lot of departments. Private sector businesses too in fact. But as suggested; its time for everyone to look again at their plans and pathways to upgrading.

Talk about stupidity coming out of some governments! I thought only our government in the U.S. could possibly be that dumb?!

Of course, with any amount of luck, everyone over in those countries WILL switch browsers and you all will see just how weak Firefox REALLY is!! It's already become popular enough that it has more patches/flaws than IE, as has been posted about here at Neowin many times.

cork1958 said,
It's already become popular enough that it has more patches/flaws than IE, as has been posted about here at Neowin many times.
Open source projects with a large user base tend to have more patches because they're a faster development cycle. Also, the fact anyone can view the source means bugs are easier to find, and given that the bug tracker is visible to everyone, whereas proprietary ones aren't, means the open source ones tend to have higher numbers of bug reports, and these numbers will include all the trivial ones, ones from different code branches and duplicates too e.g. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=524936 . You don't seriously think that the official figures from some companies honestly reflect the number of bugs they've been told about, do you?
I'm not saying that FireFox doesn't have flaws, I'm just saying that you shouldn't give the same weighting to the figures of different ways of developing software.

shhac said,
Open source projects with a large user base tend to have more patches because they're a faster development cycle. Also, the fact anyone can view the source means bugs are easier to find, and given that the bug tracker is visible to everyone, whereas proprietary ones aren't, means the open source ones tend to have higher numbers of bug reports, and these numbers will include all the trivial ones, ones from different code branches and duplicates too e.g. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=524936 . You don't seriously think that the official figures from some companies honestly reflect the number of bugs they've been told about, do you?
I'm not saying that FireFox doesn't have flaws, I'm just saying that you shouldn't give the same weighting to the figures of different ways of developing software.

If you look on secunia.com you will see this flaw on the highlighted vulnerabilities page right now... along with the Shockwave player, the Windows Flash player, and Acrobat Reader. The problem is all three of those Adobe products use the same code base for their IE plugins as they do for every other browser. What good will switching from IE do, then? Microsoft will have their flaw fixed shortly but every browser will still be just as vulnerable thanks to Adobe's horrible programming and poor security practices.

GreyWolf said,
The problem is all three of those Adobe products use the same code base for their IE plugins as they do for every other browser. What good will switching from IE do, then?
True, some browser plugins are going to be bad across all browsers, but cork1958 was talking specifically about IE/FF and not about additional software you may also have installed.

Oh as if our useless Government knows anything about computers or the Internet.

Their National Broadband Network is going to fail before it's even built, and the National Internet Censor is the biggest clamp down in a western country that I can remember.

Kevin Rudd and his merry men are a bunch of halfwits.

Thing is peeps M$ has been able to get away with not patching things when they should do.

Is it an over reaction, yes.

Will it make M$ get their fingers out their ass and start working on keeping things patched sooner, yes.

Like dannydig said not everyone is PC, internet geeks and know what they are doing.
If they did their would be no viruses out there.

I did not know about the Auzies opting for the firewall system.
Google are really getting their hands into everything.

i know afew Dev for google and some of the stuff they have informed me of is so shocking.

NEWS STORY

IE Users Warns People To Avoid The Australian Government....

Keep in mind this is the same government who are set to introduce a national firewall system exactly like China's this year. I don't suppose they are just kissing Google's butt by any chance?

'Oh PLEASE Mr Googol, PLEASE don't run away from Australia same as you ran away from that big bad China'.

This is blown out of proportion to be honest, is not like this is the first time a security flaw is found in IE.

Look guys, you don't understand the problem. It is about time something is done. The government has done the right thing. The trouble is, only about 25% of the population (of the 70% that use the internet) know how important internet security is. It is simply not advertised enough. There is an increase in the number of malicious websites, and IE 6 does not block them. Another problem is people don't even know what IE version they have. You see, not everyone is tech savvy like you readers. I hate those internet ads that say that "you have to install a registry cleaner because there is a problem with your PC". I always think of the many people that click on those, and what happens as a result. People at my work even do, but thanks to Avira AV, it gets blocked by the WebGuard! I would say only about 30% of our population know that an alternative web browser exists. Most people here just buy a PC, and expect that's all that has to be done. It used to be like that, however, now there are updates for various software being released weekly, and if you are not aware of this, you become more and more vulnerable. Also, from what I have seen, about 95% of the people who have pre-installed anti-virus software on their PC don't update it when it has expired. The government should really pay for anti-virus for its population.

So I say again, well done to the governments around the world, noting that the internet is a very popular technology, and caring about the online safety of others. I think the Australian government should set up a system where people can have a CD posted to the with IE8, or even better, Firefox or Chrome, on it.

dannydig said,
Look guys, you don't understand the problem. It is about time something is done. The government has done the right thing. The trouble is, only about 25% of the population (of the 70% that use the internet) know how important internet security is. It is simply not advertised enough. There is an increase in the number of malicious websites, and IE 6 does not block them. Another problem is people don't even know what IE version they have. You see, not everyone is tech savvy like you readers. I hate those internet ads that say that "you have to install a registry cleaner because there is a problem with your PC". I always think of the many people that click on those, and what happens as a result. People at my work even do, but thanks to Avira AV, it gets blocked by the WebGuard! I would say only about 30% of our population know that an alternative web browser exists. Most people here just buy a PC, and expect that's all that has to be done. It used to be like that, however, now there are updates for various software being released weekly, and if you are not aware of this, you become more and more vulnerable. Also, from what I have seen, about 95% of the people who have pre-installed anti-virus software on their PC don't update it when it has expired. The government should really pay for anti-virus for its population.

So I say again, well done to the governments around the world, noting that the internet is a very popular technology, and caring about the online safety of others. I think the Australian government should set up a system where people can have a CD posted to the with IE8, or even better, Firefox or Chrome, on it.

Please; this is nothing more than piling on (in the case of the Australian government) because of what the French and German governments did (for nationalistic reasons). Besides, *Microsoft* has been recommending that users, in and out of corporations, migrats from IE 6 for two years (since the first flap about IE 6 security issues). More often than not, the only time IE gets upgraded is when the operating system does (despite both IE 7 and IE 8 being available for XP). What's telling about *that* recommendation is that Microsoft itself created IE 6.

If they won't listen to Microsoft, what makes you think they will listen to Nana Government?

badblood said,
Bloody hell, this is turning into a hate campaign!
I'm on IE7 in work (compatibility reasons).
Version 7.0.5730.13
Build number 75730

IE8 has a force IE7 mode in its dev. tools.

Try that out?

Does Microsoft get the Nobel Peace Prize? I mean this program has single handedly got more governemnts to agree on the same thing faster than any meeting or threat the world has ever seen has.

And i'm going to use IE8 just to spite the world goverments.
build 8.0.6001.18865
whats your ie build number?

Einlander said,
Does Microsoft get the Nobel Peace Prize? I mean this program has single handedly got more governemnts to agree on the same thing faster than any meeting or threat the world has ever seen has.

And i'm going to use IE8 just to spite the world goverments.
build 8.0.6001.18865
whats your ie build number?

Mine is

v8.0.7600.16385

Edited by leesmithg, Jan 20 2010, 10:52am :

Einlander said,
Does Microsoft get the Nobel Peace Prize? I mean this program has single handedly got more governemnts to agree on the same thing faster than any meeting or threat the world has ever seen has.

And i'm going to use IE8 just to spite the world goverments.
build 8.0.6001.18865
whats your ie build number?

8.0.7600.16385 (Windows 7 32-bit + fixes)

It remains my browser of choice for Windows (despite having Firefox installed).

Einlander said,
Does Microsoft get the Nobel Peace Prize? I mean this program has single handedly got more governemnts to agree on the same thing faster than any meeting or threat the world has ever seen has.

And i'm going to use IE8 just to spite the world goverments.
build 8.0.6001.18865
whats your ie build number?

I'm running Windows 7 proudly on ALL my systems, and with IE8 8.0.7600.16385 thank you very much! I also have Firefox and Chrome installed in order to test my sites' code, but I can honestly say, those are CRAP browsers... Firefox is too slow, vulnerable and bloated, and Chrome is too simplistic and Mac-like for my taste.

Hey Rudd, SUCK THE WOLRD C__K YOU A__HOLE!!!

Edited by -=MagMan=-, Jan 20 2010, 6:08pm :


I don't think there was any interference in what they said that Internet Explorer was any more deficient in terms of security than any of the other browsers, just that it was being targeted more. On that basis, you'd have to argue that if security was a principal concern then using another browser would be wise until the incident is reduced.

I agree.

Yet again a body of people elected to represent the people are trying to control their browsing

habits by telling them what to do.

I use IE8 x64 and I am happy with it.

So blah!

leesmithg said,
Yet again a body of people elected to represent the people are trying to control their browsing

habits by telling them what to do.

I use IE8 x64 and I am happy with it.

So blah!

Jesus Christ mate, no one is ordering anyone to do anything - it is an ADVISORY!!!!!!!!

IE HAET IS TEH NEW RACISIM.

Soon we will have bathrooms saying Tridents renderer here, Ie's to the back of the bus, and we don't serve your kind.

But i have a dream, that one day my children will not be judged by the contentof thier user agent.

I'd like to see a full page ad in all tomorrows papers warning everyone about the dangers of the Australia government, perhaps a photo of Swandive reading economics for dummies, Dullard doing.... whatever the hell it is Dullard does, etc, etc.

It's great for as many powerful institutions (e.g. governments) as possible to get on the bandwagon against IE. Not because it's justified, but because Web designers everywhere would like people to leave IE or at least upgrade, and these announcements might give that movement some impetus. Blessing in disguise.

It really shows the idiots of who run our country. Close to half of ALP were members of the "Young Communist Party" or similar. We can see this shining through with our too close-of-a-link with China. We've got restrictions popping up left, right and center. Bans/tax on alcohol, smoking, driving (you know what I'm talking about Queenslanders) and internet filtering in the works. Labor gives us all this crap about how its for our own good, well geeze, thank you but I'm sure we can make our own decisions thank you very much, how about taking Japan to court over waling like you promised? Sorry but gahh, drives me crazy. Kick Rudds sorry ass Abbott.

I agree, I mean wow people. Get a grip. If you dumped a product every time it had a security flaw we wouldn't have computers at all. "Oh no, Windows 7 had a security issue this week, everyone burn your copies!"

I think this is all just an excuse to bash IE (though people really should upgrade to IE8.)

This gives the wrong message. What they should be saying is windows users with XP+ should make shore IE is updated to version 8. Older than XP change to a different browser until a fix is released.

I'm really baffled by these countries stance lately against IE. I can't figure out if it's a reaction to the Chinese hacks or something else entirely. I mean for these countries to campaign against private use of IE just seems a little odd to me...

M_Lyons10 said,
I can't figure out if it's a reaction to the Chinese hacks or something else entirely.

From what I gather, they're afraid that the Chinese are still going to use IE as an attack vector to try and compromise more systems, quite possibly leading into sensitive systems. IE has been a serious security liability for quite some time, though now that a certain feared communist government is known to be exploiting this has finally set alarm bells ringing, ear splittingly loud.

Quite clearly, I don't blame them. Yes IE is getting more secure, but it's still vulnerable because of its integration with Windows.

The Australian government has shown time and again it has ZERO clue about the internet. If it's not appointing the world's greatest luddite as an advisor, it is attempting to censor the internet.

A statement like this from the Australian government is pretty much in the same league as Global Warming - a total non-event, that they do not have the foggiest clue about.

DeltaFalcon said,
Quite clearly, I don't blame them. Yes IE is getting more secure, but it's still vulnerable because of its integration with Windows.

Actually, with Windows 7 it isn't integrated into Windows anymore, so you don't have to worry about that anymore.

Edited by Stokkolm, Jan 20 2010, 10:02am :

Stokkolm said,

Actually, with Windows 7 it isn't integrated into Windows anymore, so you don't have to worry about that anymore.

It is integrated, the only difference with Windows 7 is, it can be turned off entirely, which means it cannot be launched by a user in any way. But the under lying code is still there. Windows cannot work properly without Internet Explorer. And even if it could, there are various 3rd party prducts which rely on the IE engine, so they would also get crippled.