Today sees yet another article on The Register about vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer allowing the installation of a particularly unpleasant bit of “spyware”. The application in question, installed on a fully patched and firewalled version of Windows XP without any interaction from the user, infested the entire system with links and pop-ups to porn sites. It took the technically proficient owner of the computer a considerable amount of time to remove the malicious code, which even managed to evade software designed to find and remove it.
My question is, how are Microsoft allowed to get away with this? They have created and distributed a widely used piece of software (Internet Explorer currently has about an 80% share of the browser market) that makes it possible to unknowingly install malicious applications that have system level privileges. This includes premium rate dialers that have landed owners of infected machines with huge telephone bills. Yet not one report I have seen about these exploits blames Microsoft. How is this possible? It is their product that allows the machine to be hijacked. Even, it seems, when someone has installed Third Party software that attempts to plug the holes.
If you use Internet Explorer on Windows, I suggest you perform the following procedure to ensure your protection against the raft of vulnerabilities that infect this poorly conceived browser:
- Find a mirror.
- Look yourself squarely in the eyes.
- Ask yourself what the HELL where you thinking?
- Download and install Mozilla or Firefox.
- Sit back and enjoy a richer, better featured, and more secure Internet Experience.
Better yet, become a Switcher, and discover that using a computer can actually be a pleasure, not a chore.