The number one piece of advice I give everyone who asks me to fix their computer, or whom I care about (family, close friends) is this: Switch from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox, even if you haven’t noticed any problems yet. Following my own advice, I don’t allow the use of IE within my own home except when absolutely necessary.
Some people who hear this think I’m going a little too far. Sure, non-techies should switch, but those people who know how to lock down their system should be OK, right? Surely I have the technical know-how to make Internet Explorer safe, right?
Security researchers warned Web surfers on Thursday to be on guard after uncovering evidence that widespread Web server compromises have turned corporate home pages into points of digital infection.
The researchers believe that online organized crime groups are breaking into Web servers and surreptitiously inserting code that takes advantage of two flaws in Internet Explorer that Microsoft has not yet fixed. Those flaws allow the Web server to install a program that takes control of the user’s computer.
Meanwhile, the average Internet surfer is left with few options. Windows users could download an alternate browser, such as Mozilla or Opera, and Mac users are not in danger.
By the way, number two is: don’t use Microsoft E-mail clients for mail. Why? Well, they rely on Internet Explorer for too much of their functionality, and at least one client (Outlook) is famous for its own porous security protections on top of IE’s. You’re a lot better off using Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus Mail, or some other mail client not made by Microsoft.