Is Your Web Browser Putting You At Risk?

It's free, it comes with Windows and it's used by approximately 94% of the Internet population. It also poses an unacceptable security risk. What am I talking about? If you guessed Internet Explorer, you're right on the money. So, is your web browser putting you at risk? If you're one of the 94% using Internet Explorer, the answer is a definite *yes*. By my math, quite a few people require critical information for protection.

What's the problem with Internet Explorer (known as "IE" from here out) and how does it put you at risk?

The main problem with IE is the numerous security flaws. As an example, between April 2001 and June 2004, Microsoft documented *153 security flaws* in IE. When a security flaw is discovered Microsoft releases information about the flaw and the potential impact. *Usually* at this point Microsoft provides a downloadable security fix to remedy the problem. Since many people don't know about the flaw and the fix, frequently people remain vulnerable for long periods of time.

Just how serious are some of these security flaws? Some of the critical security flaws allow attackers to basically gain control of your computer and run whatever malicious programs they chose. In many cases, your vulnerable computer can be compromised just by visiting the wrong website.

Here are but a few of the malicious programs I've seen loaded on people's computers through security holes in IE:

  • Browser Hijackers. These are programs that do nasty things like change your home page to another page, usually something pornographic in nature. They can also install software and links on your desktop, of course *without* your permission.

  • Spyware. This is extremely devious and malicious software, and in many cases, it's used by criminals for online identity theft. Once it's on your computer, Spyware sits quietly in the background recording information about you. Do you shop and bank online? This is one threat to be extremely concerned about.

What can you do to improve security?

Rather than continue to apply what boils down to "band aid" security fixes to IE, I recommend a more permanent solution. Stop letting IE put you at risk, and switch to another web browser.

How exactly will switching web browsers help? Quite simply, there are so many security exploits on the Internet targeted specifically to IE that just by using another browser, you'll happily avoid most of them.

The good news is that there are several alternative web browsers available free of charge like Netscape, Mozilla, Opera and Firefox. For more information a great website to visit is http://BrowseHappy.com. This website is dedicated to getting people to switch from IE. It's full of "real life" stories about why people switched, and what browser they're using now.

So, what's the best browser of the bunch? Well, it's highly subjective of course, but my vote goes to ?

Firefox, "Rediscover the Web" A new browser called Firefox has quickly become my web browser of choice. First off, Firefox was written to be "lean and mean" and it certainly delivers. It's faster at loading web pages than IE and even provides features not found in IE. Something I suspect will quickly become a favorite feature is called tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing allows you to load multiple web pages in the same window, and quickly switch between the loaded pages. Tired of pop-ups? Firefox has the best built-in pop-up blocker I've seen. I have yet to see a pop-up get past it. When it comes to security, Firefox receives *high marks*.

Firefox definitely has a positive "buzz" going right now, and it's easy to see why. If you're interested in trying out Firefox, you can download it for free here: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

I'll conclude by saying that switching browsers is only one of several steps necessary to protect yourself from the many threats on the Internet, but it's certainly a good place to start. Here's to practicing safe computing.

© Doug Partridge - All Rights reserved

About The Author

Doug Partridge is co-author of a new eBook, "How to Secure Your Computer Using Free Tools and Smart Strategies." This is the missing Internet security guide that should have come with your Windows computer, but didn't.

Free Details => http://www.SecureYourComputer.net

In The News:

5 Tips for Smartphone Voice Tools  The New York Times

What Does That Error Message Really Mean?

Surf the 'Net for about 10 minutes and chances rate... Read More

Are You Well Protected?

Winter?the official start of the cold and flu season. Though,... Read More

Be Your Own IT Department

If you use a computer, you need to know more... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Dexterity Customizations

Microsoft Business Solutions is on the way to popularize it's... Read More

Build Your Own Computer

I'm eighty-one years old and I bought my first computer... Read More

Do Higher Digital Camera Prices Mean Better Cameras?

Understanding digital camera prices makes finding the best camera value... Read More

Cisco CCNA Certification: Five Things To Do DURING The Exam

There are plenty of articles out there about how to... Read More

iPod - Learn How It Can Solve Everyday Problems

All over the world, people carry with them walkmans and... Read More

Digital Cameras: Hot Gear with the Coolest Features!

Cameras: still known for taking pictures but assumed as digital... Read More

How To Increase Computer Speed And Performance - Great Tips & Tricks

Many computer users are worried about their computer's performance. After... Read More

Buying A PC Flat Screen Monitor

For six years, my Samsung PC 13.8 inch SyncMaster conventional... Read More

Maintain Your Computer ? Keep Your Business Running

Maintaining your computer is extremely important ? especially if you... Read More

Ergonomics and Healthy Computing - Positioning Your Body For Maximum Comfort At Your Computer

Do you remember the old saw about how computers would... Read More

How To Remove One Operating System from a Dual Boot Windows XP Computer

In Windows Xp, you can install two operating systems on... Read More

Tips for Buying a PC

Buying Your PCBuying a PC that's right for you and... Read More

Why Build Your Own Gaming Computer?

The best way to get the gaming computer that you... Read More

Help, I Need a New HDTV! (Part 2 of 5)

Feeling overwhelmed in selecting a new TV? With all the... Read More

Favorite Things To Do With Home Technology

Save money. Save 10-15% on utility bills per month. Work... Read More

Cisco Certification: The Most Important Cisco Study Youll Ever Do

All of us are familiar with the pyramids of Egypt.... Read More

Setting File Permissions On A Unix Server

File permissions are one of the strengths that the Unix... Read More

Registry Tools Demystified

Not sure what Windows registry is or how it works?... Read More

The Help Desk

When you think of a help desk, what do you... Read More

How Does My PC Get Hot

There are many sources of heat that can raise the... Read More

What Has A Portable MP3 Player Have To Do With Your Business

Plenty! When we made the decision to be our own... Read More

Gain Control Over Your Screensavers With These Simple Steps

We all enjoy our favorite screensavers but in the same... Read More