Not us, guv

You may be puzzled by this Telegraph report.

Both France and Germany’s governments have respectively advised computer users to download an alternative web browser to the most popular browser in the world, after a security flaw was detected.

The French government issued an advisory to computer users, recommending that they switch to a different web browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome. It follows a similar move by the German government, after it was discovered that Internet Explorer contained a serious security flaw that could be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals.

However, a spokesman from the British Cabinet Office told The Telegraph that the British government would not be issuing a similar warning and instead would be referring anyone who was concerned about cyber security to

Microsoft last week admitted that its Internet Explorer browser was the weak link in recent attacks by hackers who pried in to the email accounts of human rights activists in China. But the company said that the German government had over-reacted about the threat posed by the vulnerability, and that general users were not at risk.

Cliff Evans, head of Security and Privacy at Microsoft UK, advised people who were still using Internet Explorer version 6 to upgrade to version 8 – which is the most recent version of browser and less susceptible.

He said: “The quantity of exploits which have occurred been minimal and very targeted. The general public do not need to worry and we have not yet had a case in the UK.”

Of course, this could be an example of the UK government keeping its head while all around them others are losing theirs.

Alternatively, it could be due to the awkward fact that every PC in the vast NHS system is required to run IE 6 — which is a real pain if you’re a company trying to pitch web 2.0 products at the health service.

LATER: Charles Arthur’s take on it in the Guardian.