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Is Internet Explorer Safe?

Posted 23 Jan 2010 | Comments Off on Is Internet Explorer Safe? | 142 views

After find out that Internet Explorer 6 was one of the key vectors in the Google hack attack, both Germany and Francehave warned its citizens against using Internet Explorer. Several technology columnists have also repeated the warning. The folks working on Firefox have already reported a significant jump in Firefox downloads from GermanyFrance and Australia. Is Internet Explorer safe for everyday use?

The question of which is the most secure browser has been asked many times, and the answer is always different. People point to studies of open versus closed code, reported vulnerability counts, vulnerbility severity, and patch release time to justify their argument. Are any of them right?

At times it’s hard to say. No matter what browser is used, the security protections of the browser itself should not be the only line of defense. There are a lot of good security tools that can be layered on to minimize the risk of visiting a malicious website. Antimailware tools, local firewalls, DNS filters are extra layers that can use used to extend the security of the brower.

Browser choice is largely a matter of preference. One browser recommendation that most people will agree to is to keep your preferred browser current. A fully patched browser is less susceptible to known attacks. One of the surprises to come of the Google/China news is the expanse of IE6 usage. IE7 and IE8 have been available via Windows Update for quite a while now, which means that people using IE6 are ignoring patches or unable to patch because of a roadblock such as corporate policy.

What’s your take? Are you going to switch browsers because of the Google/China reports? Or are you going to layer up the defenses? Unfortunately, there are already reports of another IE exploit in the wild.

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