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Internet Explorer, the worlds worst web browser, whats wrong with it...

It always sends a shudder down my spine, when someone says "whats FireFox, surely everyone uses Internet Explorer?" Not if they have any sense, that is & with ever growing popularity, FireFox is now used by over 47% of Internet users.

The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security, Computer expert Alan Stevens: "It's like having a window left open in your house" & we agree. Internet Explorer represents a gaping hole in security just waiting to be exploited.

Sadly, mis-guided by Microsofts dominance non technical users are un aware of the problems until they get attacked or hijacked by a hostile web site. Malicious web sites are being filtered from some search engines but a lot go un-noticed & recently some were getting high rankings with Google. Unfortunately, IE has many fundamental security flaws & is well established as the hackers best friend.

We reccomend you replace Internet Explorer without delay. Im stuck for one compelling reason to use Internet Explorer. Its not a very compliant browser either, just run the Acid3 test demonstrates it isnt that compliant for starters. Alternate browsers such as FireFox & Opera are more secure & much better.

So heres what you need to know about Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer (IE) comes from a company whos lack of attention to security is legendary, CERT the Computer Emergency Response Team urged users to use any web browser other than IE 6.0. Why? because IE 6.0 is a gilt edged invitation to hackers. Its the least secure web browser in existance with more holes than a cullinder. Even PC World rated it as the eigth worst technical product of all time, although Microsoft is no stranger to this notorious list.

Recently, a problem with IE was played down & noo action taken untill over 278,000 web sites were affected each posing a very serious risk to security. Microsoft steadfastly ignored calls for immediate action from security companies. No doubt attemting to patch their code - see this before admission to the fault. Users need the best security, but Microsoft fail to produce a secure browser. Our advices is dont bother, IE 8.0 is not the answer, use FireFox & lock it down with add ons like No Script & Sandboxie.

Denial, two things regarding exploits that are really wrong: denying they exist & trying to shift the blame. Microsoft, after months of denial, finally owns up having tried to shift the blame onto Mozilla and any third party vendor that the URL would accept malicious payloads. Microsofts comment is here and no surprise that anonymous posting has been disabled.

Cookies I got my hands on a brand new laptop the other day, I went to one website & right away the cookie appeared, this cookie run by a company called Omniture which seems to be everywhere. Omnitures somewhat vague statement is here, but I dont want, trust or like persistent cookies. They state "It is very important that you review the respective privacy policy of each website that you visit..." Id have to spend about 20 years just reading the 10,000 pages of T&Cs that sites put out. So NO WAY. I get Firefox load up AdBlock plus and it blocks hostile scripts adware images and all the crap you get by the bucket load with Internet Explorer. I tell Firefox to dump all cookies when I exit & also configure AdBlock Plus to reject ones like the persistent 2o7 in a simple script (may be in AdBlock by default now)

Adware, scumware call it what you like, its not wanted & IE seems to be a magnet for this, every PC with IE seems stuffed to the gills with hostile crap from all over the globe. Of course anyone with any sense takes care, but adware installs by stealth or drive by download. Children trust every site they go to and ones aimed at children, full of pop up adverts or adverts with malicious scripts screaming get a free whatever it is here... one click & bingo, some crapware is installed. Search Google for a 'free' tool that offers to clean up your PC which removes the first lot then installs more! Why cant Microsoft fit a 'no crap' option with out constantly bothering your web browsing with security alerts? But eventually the constant cancel or allow nags means security gets turned off, exposing the fact that the underlying software just dosnt cut it where security is concerned.

Information week tests two browsers side by side and found IE lets in more than FireFox, Spyware barely touches Firefox whilst IE fell victim to malicious Active X scripts. Why not test annually? although I dont like Internet Explorer, it would be nice to see the least secure web browser make some progress.

Another difference between IE & FireFox is updates, Firefox gets updated in the background, following which a message requests a re-start of the browser either now or later, thats fine by me. With Microsofts updates, the very words re-start engenders a sense of insecurity, will it or wont it? But Firefox always updates fine.

Firefox updates relatively painlessly but with Internet Explorer its different, you have to run the gauntlet of the Windows update, the service I have witnessed first hand make a Windows 2003 server fail to boot & screw up windows installations with ease. Turning on updates means there are always lots to pick through, some which must be installed separately & some installed together & some of which are not required. Why of why can you not just download the updates for Internet Explorer? Possibly its vendor lock in, where Microsoft dont like users hanging on to '2000 or XP installations (because they work and dosnt earn any money). Yet another reason to use Firefox, it works on every 32/64 bit version of windows Ive used so why not yours?.


So, in my opinion, Internet Explorer is worthless, insecure junk that needs replacing fast

The opinions expressed here are personal and collected following several years of IT experience