Internet browsers

How much consideration have you given to your choice of internet browser?  If you’re like most people, you haven’t given any thought at all; you just use the browser provided on your computer and never consider that there may be another option.  If you have a PC, you’re using Microsoft Internet Explorer (the icon being a big blue ‘e’) while on a Mac you’re using Apple Safari (the icon looking like a compass rose).

Other popular browsers include Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera.  While there are many others, these are the most popularly known and used in roughly that order.  Safari is also available for Windows but Internet Explorer is no longer available for the Mac.  Neither Safari nor Internet Explorer are available for Linux.

Why choose another browser?  Some will argue speed and others will argue security.  Myself, I’ve encountered compatibility issues.  I use Firefox for the vast majority of my browsing except on those sites where Internet Explorer is required for some functionality (thankfully, these are becoming less common).

I like Firefox for its ability to accept plug-ins.  These little add-ons enhance the functionality of the browser.  Two that I use frequently are NoScript and Tab Mix Plus.  NoScript is a bit of an advanced tool, but increases security by blocking everything unless you specifically allow it.  This helps to prevent malware infections from taking place because the script that would have placed it on your computer isn’t allowed to run.  I call it advanced because you do have to take some care in what you allow to run.  If you don’t allow anything, your browsing will be somewhat limited and things won’t look as the web page designer intended.  With Tab Mix Plus, you increase the flexibility of the tabbed browsing feature built into Firefox.  A simple example is the ability to choose whether a link opens in a new foreground or background tab (basically giving you the option to view the page now or later).

Google Chrome is gaining ground because it’s been shown to be relatively fast and it gives you the most room for browsing than the others.  With all the other browsers, so much of the window space is taken up with menus and toolbars.  Chrome has removed most of them so you have the largest window available for actually viewing web pages.

The biggest security issue with continuing to use Internet Explorer is that it is directly targeted by malware.  It’s targeted simply because it is still the most used internet browser.  You increase your security just by using something else.

I encourage you to give one of the other browsers a try.  You may just like it and decide to never go back.

One Response to “Internet browsers”

  1. […] The exploit initially used a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I strongly recommend that you use a browser other than Internet Explorer for most of your browsing.  This isn’t complete safety as the exploit next used vulnerabilities in Java and Adobe Reader to get the installation to occur.  Just another reason why I recommend Firefox with the NoScript add-on.  You can read about that in my previous post here. […]