OS other than MSIE
Posted 07 January 2006 - 02:18 PM
Posted 07 January 2006 - 06:01 PM
That aside, you will find that using a browser other than IE will assist in your efforts to key spyware off your PC, although it will not make you immune. Firstly, IE suffers from many unpatched vulnerabilities that are easily exploited buy malware pushers. These vulneravilities inherently lie in the Trident rendering engine, so any browser that uses this layout engine will be succeptable to the same problems.
IE also uses ActiveX, a functionality that makes webpages "appear alive!" Malware pushers have found that ActiveX is an easy way to get malware onto a users system. ActiveX is unique to IE and IE-variants.
The main advantage of IE is that almost all web pages display in it correctly (as the author intended). Now whilst this is a good thing from the point of view of ease, it is a bad thing for web standards, since IE is not a very web standard compliant browser (in fact no browser is 100% web standard compliant, but IE is known for being particularly bad). So in a nutshell, IE is good for web compatability, but poor on security.
As it happens, you can easily tie-down IE to make it pretty secure through use of third-party software (SpywareBlaster and Webroot Spysweeper, for example) and by restricting the IE security-zones. You could also use a Hosts-file and IE-SPYADS for additional security.
Your other options - Well the main players in the alternative browser market include:
Mozilla Firefox - Popular, highly customisable browser (through use of extensions) that has found many fans due to this customisability. However, Firefox has been known to have a few problems of its own in the last 12 months, but is still wide regarded as a better option than IE and patches for issues are prompt and effective. Sadly, many web pages do not display properly in Firefox, although this is changing due to the increased market share of this browser. If you want the easy life, Firefox is for you.
Opera - Not as popular as Firefox, but also highly customisable browser (though some feel the customisability is not as straight forward as Firefox), it is also very fast - more so that any other browser I have used. Generally, Opera tends to be more secure (according to Secunia) and like Firefox patches for issues are prompt and effective. Similarly to Firefox, many web pages do not display properly in Opera (possibly more so than Firefox) however for the technophiles there are many options for correcting this through JS. Opera is the browser for those that really like to get their hands-dirty and really make the web their own - this browser has endless customisability and tweaks.
Netscape - Never used this browser, though it has its fans. Has the ability to use the Trident (IE) rendering engine or the Gecko (Firefox) rendering engine to allow for the best of both worlds (security and capatability). Although, I know a lot of people are not impressed with how buggy Netscape is.
So that is a little run through my views on IE, and a look at the alternatives. IMO, and it really is my opinion, I go for Opera because it has all the benefits of Firefox and little extra, plus I like tweaking things on my PC.
Edited by MacDaddy, 07 January 2006 - 06:04 PM.
Posted 08 January 2006 - 08:35 AM
Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:36 PM
Opera's definitely fast. I'm not so much into tweaking, just found it to be fast and secure. About as bullet-proof as possible in the security area.
Firefox is no slouch, but it's had some of the same type of buffer-overflow issues (security) as IE, in the past year. Those issues were always handled quickly, though, and it's a very secure browser.
Both browsers put up a reasonable cushion against the WMF vulnerability, Opera the better of the two.
The WMF exploits require patches, regardless of what browser one uses.