Recently, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a strange advisory; Americans are warned against using the Internet Explorer Web browser until a serious security flaw has been resolved. The security flaw was discovered over the weekend by an internet security software firm, FireEye. We take a look at the vulnerabilities of web browsers, and ultimately hope that we make it easier for you to choose a browser that suits all your needs. Or at least, most of them:
According to the US’ Dept of Homeland Security Computer Emergency Readiness, Internet Explorer (IE) is broken. Beyond repair, it would seem. “We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem…” says the department. Among the solutions punted is disabling your Adobe Reader/Flash. IE, however is missing the built in sandbox feature. More on that later.
- A lot of people used, and are still using IE. Hackers know this and IE is seen as a very valuable target to attack a large group of people simultaneously. Staying away from IE means you are safer from targeted software viruses. Choose other browsers to circumvent this vulnerability. Or else, IE could give us sandboxing of individual tabs, like Chrome.
- Unlike Chrome and Firefox, IE doesn’t automatically look out for updates for your out-of-date plugins or extensions. A favourite amongst hackers, out-of-date extensions/plugins are an entry point into your computer. If you are using IE, you will need to be continuously on the lookout for updates. Chrome, for example, has a safe area in your computer (a sandbox), which ensures that even if you are a victim of an attack, the corrupted plugins (Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader) won’t do any damage.
- IE offers no synchronization, up to version 8, if you using different computers. There are no built in features to synchronize bookmarks and more between different instances of the browser. Chrome and Firefox offer this feature. If you are using anything after Windows 8 however, your Bookmarks and tabs are synced through the OS
- If you are an Apple product user, IE is made nearly obsolete. Following the expiration of a business agreement between Mac and Microsoft, and the halting of development of the Safari for Windows a few years ago, uninstalling it for security reasons would be the best thing to do. Working across a number of platforms, FireFox and Opera are the only true cross platform browsers, working on all 3 desktop platforms and the two big mobile platforms.
There is an array of Web browser options available, free of charge. Like many other browsers, IE has its issues and is ultimately no better – or worse – than any of the browsers available. For instance, IE is the only browser to encrypt your stored usernames and passwords for the websites you frequent. Firefox will lock them IF you set a master password, while Chrome stores them in plain text. Strides have been made in IE 10 and 11. Due to lack of web standards, no single browser does it all well, many have found it beneficial to use a bit of everything from the browsers. What is important to note is that all browsers have vulnerabilities