British Health Officials Waiting for IE 6 Security Patch
The British Department of Health recommends that its National Health Service staff stop using Internet Explorer 6 without a necessary security patch. The British move is part of a general concern in Europe about Internet Explorer security following a wave of attacks against Google and other companies carried out by exploiting an invalid pointer reference. Germany and France have also advised their citizens to stop using unpatched versions of Internet Explorer. Windows 7 includes IE 8, the latest version of the Web browser.The British Department of Health has issued a bulletin to its National Health Service staff recommending that they stop using Internet Explorer 6 until the necessary security patch can be downloaded, as part of a wider European pullback from the browser due to security concerns. Following news in January that a zero-day bug in Internet Explorer had been exploited in intensive attacks against Google and other companies, both France and Germany advised their citizens to stop using Internet Explorer until a patch could be issued. Those attacks allegedly originated from China, leading Google to threaten to cease operations in that country.
The British Department of Health's bulletin advised any organizations continuing to use Internet Explorer 6 to download the necessary security update patch. Otherwise, it added, the vulnerability "could allow an attacker to download and install further malware [and] spyware on the computer, add user accounts to the computer, steal sensitive data held locally and centrally, and so forth." While the attacks against Google and other companies had been executed via Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows 2000 and Windows XP, "work is ongoing to leverage the exploit code so that it works successfully on other versions of Internet Explorer on other Windows platforms."