The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (Ficora) has created confusion by sending out mixed messages about Internet Explorer.

The authority at first issued a statement advising people not to use Explorer and then swiftly rescinded it.

The browser, subject to a number of security flaws in its lifetime, is currently exploitable through an unpatched IFrame bug.

Initially a Ficora website advisory suggested users should refrain from using the browser until the problem was fixed, although it didn't say which alternative was best. But today the advisory was removed.

"They probably realised that it wasn't that clever," said Michael Albrecht, product manager at Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure. "Although the Iframe exploit is potentially dangerous, it can be managed with common sense and anti-virus technology."

But Albrecht also claimed that Internet Explorer is not the safest browser on the market. "It's an indisputable fact that IE is full of insecurities. But the problem is that non-technical users and businesses might find a complete overhaul of their browser a difficult process," he said.

Malware capable of exploiting the Iframe bug was created within four days of the problem being confirmed. The Bofra worm allows others to access infected computers and sends itself to email addresses found on the infected computer.

In the last month Internet Explorer has seen a major challenge to its browser hegemony. Mozilla's Firefox reached version 1.0 in early November under a swathe of industry support, and is now the browser of choice for over four percent of users.

www.ficora.com
www.f-secure.com