* Warning comes after Microsoft warns on bug in browser
* German govt says hackers are using bug to launch attacks
* Fears malicious code will spread quickly
By Harro Ten Wolde and Jim Finkle
FRANKFURT/BOSTON, Sept 18 The German government
urged the public on Tuesday to temporarily stop using Microsoft
Corp's Internet Explorer following discovery of
yet-to-be repaired bug in the web browser that the software
maker said makes PCs vulnerable to attack by hackers.
The security flaw, which affects hundreds of millions of
Internet Explorer browser users around the globe, publicly
surfaced over the weekend.
Microsoft had said on Monday that attackers can exploit the
bug to infect the PC of somebody who visits a malicious website
and then take control of the victim's computer.
The German government's Federal Office for Information
Security, or BSI, said that it was aware was aware of targeted
attacks and that all that was needed was to lure web surfers to
a website where hackers had planted malicious software that
exploited the bug in Internet Explorer to infect their PCs.
"A fast spreading of the code has to be feared," the German
government said in its statement.
BSI advised all users of Internet Explorer to use an
alternative browser until the manufacturer has released a
Officials with Microsoft did not respond to a request for
comment on the move by the German government.
The company late on Monday urged customers to install a
piece of security software as an interim measure, buying it time
to fix the bug and release a new, more secure version of
Microsoft did not say how long that will take, but several
security researchers said they expect the update within a week.
The free security tool, which is known as the Enhanced
Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET, is available through an
advisory on Microsoft's website:
The EMET software must be downloaded, installed and then
manually configured to protect computers from the newly
discovered threat, according to the posting from Microsoft. The
company also advised customers to adjust several Windows
security settings to thwart potential attackers, but cautioned
that doing so might impact the PC's usability.
Some security experts had said it would be too cumbersome
for many PC users to implement the measures suggested by
Microsoft. Instead they advised Windows users to temporarily
switch from Internet Explorer to rival browsers such as Google
Inc's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox or Opera Software ASA's
Internet Explorer was the world's second-most widely used
browser last month, with about 33 percent market share,
according to StatCounter. It was close behind Chrome, which had
34 percent of the market.