In this article, I’m going to try to [quicky] answer the following questions:
- What is Internet Explorer?
- What are some alternatives to Internet Explorer?
- Why shouldn’t I use Internet Explorer right now?
- Why shouldn’t I use Internet Explorer ever?
- Are there any reasons that I should use Internet Explorer?
What is Internet Explorer? Internet Explorer is a web browser. Simply put, it’s a program that allows you to browse / view / search the Internet and / or World Wide Web. Think of the Internet / World Wide Web as a box with (for the purposes of this discussion) 5 openings. Internet Explorer is one of those openings and allows you to see what is inside the box. It’s important here to note that it’s only 1 of multiple openings that allow you to see the same thing.
What are some alternatives to Internet Explorer? Now that we know what Internet Explorer is, and we’ve said that there are other ‘openings’ in the box, what are those alternatives? This is by no means an all inclusive list but these are a few good options. All of these are easy to install and completely free and I’ve listed them in order of my personal preference. There’s no real harm in downloading and trying any or all of them to see which suits you better. It’s also interesting to view sites in different browsers, as some sites are written differently depending on the browser that you’re accessing it from.
- Google Chrome – http://google.com/chrome
- Mozilla Firefox – http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox
- Apple Safari – http://www.apple.com/safari
- Opera – http://www.opera.com
Why shouldn’t I use Internet Explorer (now)? We reported a few days ago about a zero day vulnerability in Internet Explorer that was being exploited heavily in Asia and, at that point, suggested that it was probably just a matter of time before it found it’s way to the US. Well, it’s found it’s way to the US (and across the globe) and is now being heavily exploited everywhere. At this time, Microsoft has not provided a patch for the vulnerability. There is a ‘work around’ but it’s effectiveness is questionable at this time.
Why shouldn’t I use Internet Explorer (ever)? Internet Explorer, the ‘big blue e’, is included with and a part of Windows. That said, it’s not a far stretch for an attacker, once they have compromised / gained access to Internet Explorer, to assume control of Windows as a result. That’s probably the biggest reason (access to the browser often, by default, grants access to everything else) but another reason is that Internet Explorer is distributed with every new Windows computer and, as a result, is the only browser that many people will use. Attackers and cyber criminals know this and understand that, if they can gain access to Internet Explorer, right out of the gate, they have a huge pool of potential victims. Not using Internet Explorer takes you out of that pool.
Are there any reaons that I should use Internet Explorer? Unfortunately, yes, there are some sites that require Internet Explorer. Some of these sites include Real Estate sites, Banking sites and others that, for one reason or another, sometimes just can’t be avoided. If you find that you use sites that require Internet Explorer, we recommend using Internet Explorer for only those sites and just using a different browser when accessing any other sites.