Governments advise that you don't use Internet Explorer
A couple of years ago, PC World rated Internet Explorer the eighth worst tech product of all time. Most complaints around the various releases of the product focus on the gaping security holes and Microsoft's apparent complacency when it comes to patching things up. It's this reason that the past 3 or 4 years has seen a spike in use of the open source alternative Mozilla Firefox.
So far, it's been pretty word-of-mouth... that is, until now, where governments are actually advising that you don't bother with it because it's a bit pile of shit.
Over in Australia, people are being advised against using IE because of a security threat. The official line from down-under is to download security patches or switch to something else. France and German officials are being less kind, issuing warnings against all versions of Microsoft's browser.
Germany warned users last Friday after a malicious code was published online, and now Certa, a French Government agency that oversees cyber threats, has warned against using all recent versions of the web browser.
This threat, implicated in the recent attacks on Google, were designed specifically to exploit Internet Explorer 6. Microsoft said it has only seen a "very limited number of targeted attacks against a small subset of corporations".
"The attacks that we have seen to date are only effective against Internet Explorer 6. We are not seeing any widespread attacks and thus far we are not seeing attacks focused on consumers."
Microsoft suggest that the problem could be solved by updating to IE8. Sadly, they're not acknowledging that the upgrade is just another browser that's vulnerable and has more hole than a tramp's sock. It took 5 years for Microsoft to update IE6 to IE7, so the news that they're working on a permanent solution shouldn't fill you with overwhelming confidence.
Naturally, all browsers are prone to security cock-ups, but it's fair to say the IE is breached the most. For now, while Microsoft is seen as 'The Man', it'll continue to get hammered by hackers. Google will probably be the next on the hit list. Regardless of which service you use, it's still a good idea to stock up on security. By which I mean, loads of things that check of bad shit in your computer, rather than a cupboard full of weapons.