updated 1/16/2010 9:01:30 PM ET 2010-01-17T02:01:30

Microsoft Corp. on Saturday rejected a German government warning against using Internet Explorer until a patch can be developed to fix a security flaw, saying the problem is not a threat to general users.

The Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, told Germans to avoid use of all versions of Explorer after the security hole led to hacks against Google and others.

Microsoft confirmed the weakness earlier this week after Google announced that hackers in China had pried into e-mail accounts of human rights activists. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)The company said, however, that the hole could be closed by setting the browser's Internet security zone to "high."

But the BSI insisted that such measures were not sufficient.

"Using Internet Explorer in 'secure mode,' as well as turning off Active Scripting makes attacks more difficult, but can not fully prevent them," BSI said in a statement released Friday.

Thomas Baumgaertner, a Microsoft spokesman in Germany, said the company was aware of the warning, but did not agree with it, pointing out that the attacks on Google were by highly motivated people with a very specific agenda.

"These were not attacks against general users or consumers," Baumgaertner said. "There is no threat to the general user, consequently we do not support this warning.

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