Despite efforts to close security loopholes with Microsoft Internet Explorer, problems abound. USA Today reports in a recent article entitled, “Security risks swell for Microsoft’s Explorer”, that using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser to surf the Internet has become a marked risk, even with the latest security patches installed.
Other media outlets have followed suit. The British journal The Inquirer reported that the US Government has sent out a warning out to internet users through its Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), pleading users to stop using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Furthermore, in a vulnerability note released by US-CERT, it says “there are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies relating to the IE domain” and that “it is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different web browser.” Well, they’re right.
So what do you do if you need to surf the Web and don’t want to use Internet Explorer? It may be time to give Firefox a try. Firefox is an award-winning, free Web browser from Mozilla, the folks who brought you Web browsing before Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon.
According to the latest release notes, “Firefox protects you from viruses, spyware and pop-ups. Enjoy improvements to performance, ease of use and privacy. It’s easy to import your favorites and settings and get started.” Specific adware and spyware prevention features of the latest edition of Firefox include automatic updates, pop-up blocking, and stronger overall security enforcement.
Supporting automatic updates, the new Software Update feature makes it easy to get the latest security and feature updates to Firefox. Firefox automatically downloads these small updates in the background and prompts you when they are ready to be installed. It is easy to forget to check a Web site to download new versions of software or install security patches.
If you have ever been annoyed by pop-ups, Firefox’s built-in pop-up blocker has been enhanced to block more unwanted pop-up and pop-under ads.
And speaking of stronger security, Firefox keeps you more secure when you’re browsing the Web, closing the door on spyware, worms, and viruses. The Firefox community of developers and security experts works around the clock to monitor security issues and release updates to better protect you.
Finally, an overlooked security issues (particularly on shared computers) is the exposure of private data like credit-card and social security numbers. Firefox protects your privacy with the new Clear Private Data tool. With a single click, you can delete all personal data, including browsing history, cookies, Web form entries and passwords.
So if you’re tired of adware and spyware issues with Internet Explorer, I’d recommend switching to Firefox, or at least trying it in parallel for a while. I’ve made the switch and I wouldn’t go back.