Sunday, July 17, 2011

Should I use IE?

 Internet Explorer is one of the most popular web browsers, that is because it comes pre-installed on every Windows machine. However is it safe to be using? ComputerWorld has posted an article on that  very fact and I decided to take a look into what reasons they had. Now some of the points I agree on while others I don't so lets take a look. Now I am not going to go over each point but I will go over a few of them:

 1. You are safer by avoiding software that bad guys target. Mac users benefited from this for years. Windows users can lower their attack surface (be less vulnerable) by avoiding popular software. Internet Explorer is popular, so bad guys exploit known problems with the browser. No thanks. 

 Firefox and Chrome are also both popular tools, so I should stay away from them also? What should I use then? Java is very popular and some games only work in Java so I just have to give up in Java games. While staying away from popular applications can lower your chances I don't see how its possible. However I think you should make sure you keep each program updated.

 2. Microsoft fixes bugs in Internet Explorer on a fixed schedule. But, bugs are not discovered on a schedule which means IE users remain vulnerable to know bugs until the next scheduled bug fix roll-out. Neither Firefox or Chrome, my preferred browsers, are locked into a schedule. 

 Microsoft does not have to release things on a schedule that can't release out of cycle patches.

3. In addition, I get the feeling that Microsoft is just slow in fixing Internet Explorer bugs. The last release of IE patches included a fix to a bug that Microsoft had been told about six months ago. 

 Now you can't tell me every other dev is fast. I have waited a long time for other companies to also fix bugs. You can't place this all on MS.

 8. The most popular operating systems are, I believe, Windows XP, Windows 7 and OS X. Of these, the latest version of Internet Explorer, version 9, runs on only one. Many people use more than one computer and are likely to deal with more than one operating system. Firefox and Chrome provide a cross-platform experience (including Linux) that Internet Explorer does not. 

 Yes but remember Windows XP is a pretty old OS. It was released in 2001 and can not be supported forever.

 9. And, if you use multiple computers, both Firefox and Chrome have built-in features to synchronize bookmarks and more between different instances of the browser. Internet Explorer (at least up to version 8) can't do this. 

  I have yet to meet one person that actually uses this. Yes I am sure somewhere people use it but why is it needed if not everyone is using it. 

  Now lets look into some positive reasons that were not mentioned in the blog post.

  1. SmartScreen protection:

 Lets not forget Microsoft has a pretty good malware protection system built into IE known as SmartScreen. The SmartScreen filter has been known to be pretty good for blocking malware downloads and bad sites.

  2. It works with a majority of sites
       Internet Explorer is preinstalled on almost every install of Windows. Which means web devs make sure to take time to check IE compatibility.

 Now I am not trying to turn people away from IE or turn people to IE. Some people I know will only use IE, I honestly prefer Firefox, and then I have friends who will only use Google Chrome. Its all up to the person using the browser their is not really one browser better then another. Some fit other people better.

 You can read the full post here on the Computer World site. Make sure you leave a comment here on the IGL-Security blog with your thoughts.

No comments:

Post a Comment