Should you change to a new Internet browser because Microsoft says so?
Should you change to a new Internet Browser? Or, should you stop using Windows XP because of browser risks?
Have you heard Microsoft’s recent announcements that their browser is not secure? These news stories about “exploits” of the browser are not actually news. Microsoft’s browsers (all of them, versions 6-11) have always been susceptible to hacks and this has been widely known in the tech community for years.
If you want to avoid problems, don’t ask yourself “What browser am I using?” Ask yourself “Where am I going on the Internet?”.
Regardless of what browser you use, whether it is Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla’s Firefox, YOU CAN ALWAYS GET INFECTED. It’s NOT about the browser, it’s about the user’s behavior online.
In today’s world, viruses, hacks, exploits, and other malicious software come hidden primarily in two packages: Email and unknown websites (especially with pop-ups). That’s it! For the most part, when you close up these two channels, you’ve essentially locked out about 99% of everything bad that can happen to your network. Of course there are other ways into your network (like an infected USB drive), but that doesn’t involve Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browsing software.
The best way to avoid a problem?
Be careful when doing two things:
A) Opening email – do not open emails or click on any links in emails that have these characteristics:
a. Unknown source
b. Known source with unexpected Subject line
c. And NEVER EVER click on an .exe file.
B) Surfing – avoid sites that have these characteristics:
A strange address – anything that you don’t readily identify as a legitimate company, should raise your awareness. www.macys.com for example clearly shows that you’re going to the department store’s official website. An address that doesn’t end with “.com” or “.us” should tell you that you’re leaving the United States for the most part. Even “.net” extensions should raise some eyebrows unless you’ve been there before and it’s legitimate.
Sites with a lot of ads that require you to click multiple times before you get to where you’re searching. Pop-up ads are another dead giveaway. They make you waste time closing them in order for the site to load its deadly computer code.
Sites that you’ve never been to that were not recommended by a friend, but rather found randomly through a Google search should raise a flag. Just because Google gave you the search does NOT mean, it’s legitimate. Google searches for key words – not malicious virus content. This means that even virus-infected websites will show up on Google’s search engine.
You actually have a lot of control over the security of your own system! Just be careful.
All of that said, an interesting business question to ponder is: Why is Microsoft releasing this “news” now? They say there was another exploit that makes every version of their browser susceptible to yet another attack. They say “we’ll have a fix, but it won’t work on Windows XP?” Why all of these announcements? Could it be because people just aren’t jumping to (the underwhelming, mediocre, latest Microsoft fad) Windows 8.x? Could they actually be trying to SCARE people into buying this new product? Hmmm…