Internet Exporer users breathed a huge sigh of relief today when it was revealed they do not have lower intelligence than other web surfers.

A story put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant had suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had lower IQs than people who used other services.

But despite being widely reported around the globe by esteemed organisations like CNN, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, Forbes and the BBC, it has emerged the story is a hoax. Investigations have shown the ApTiquant website, where the story orginally appeared, was only recently set up and the company may have been the victim of a cruel hoax by unknown persons.

The BBC contacted Central Test who confirmed that they had been made aware of the story but had no knowledge of ApTiquant or its activities. Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University’s Statistical Laboratory who said: “I believe these figures are implausibly low – and an insult to IE users.”

No-one on ApTiquant’s contact number was available for comment.

Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos, examined the source material for the BBC after concerns were raised. He said: “It’s obviously very easy to create a bogus site like this – as all phishers know it’s easy to rip-off someone else’s webpages and pictures.”