Mozilla and Opera benefit from IE flaw

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Rival browser developers claim spike in downloads.

Mozilla has reported an extra 300,000 downloads of its Firefox browser in Germany after governments across Europe advised citizens not to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Ken Kovash, from Mozilla's metrics team, confirmed that the company had also seen far more downloads in France after the warnings.

"We have seen a statistically significant rise in the number of downloads originating in France and Germany following recommendations that citizens migrate away from Internet Explorer," he said.

A graph published by Mozilla claimed to show the surge in downloads in Germany since January 14, but specific figures for France were not immediately available.

"We can see an uptick in web site traffic from people in France since yesterday, but the impact on downloads will take another day or two to show up in our download numbers," Kovash explained.

Browser developer Opera also claimed to have seen a rise in downloads, but was unable to give any specific figures.

"We have seen a significant rise in France and Germany where the governments warned against the use of IE, but also in other regions as consumers start to think more carefully about their browser choices for security reasons," said Christen Krogh, chief development officer at Opera.

Krogh added that, although the attack through Microsoft's browser was regrettable, it would help to spur debate and awareness among users about the importance of secure browsing and the fact that alternative browsers are available.

"Opera has always had a very strict security policy, and we pride ourselves as being the safest browser," he said.

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