Hello IT helpdesk? I have a problem called the internet
A friend remarked this morning that being told you can’t use Internet Explorer, as governments around the world are advising, is like being ordered to get to work without using roads.
This would be inconvenient but sufferable as we could all probably do with a good walk. But tortuously, in this situation even starting such a walk involves making a phone call to your IT helpdesk.
With respect to my IT administrator friends I’ll bet many people would rather take their chances with the criminals.
I feel doubly sorry for anyone stuck on Internet Explorer because not only does it have a security problem but it is also one of the worst ways to browse the web.
Put aside the fact that other browsers like Firefox and Chrome are often faster and easier to use - on older versions of IE pages don’t display properly, links don’t work, and you’re always getting little “Bah-bah!” messages alerting you that you need a more recent version of Flash or Adobe reader or whatever else. Major sites like YouTube and Twitter have given up trying to make their sites work properly on IE6. It just can’t keep up with the content on the modern web.
If you’re working in a big company or in government it’s a good bet that you’re stuck with Internet Explorer. This is just the reality of life in many big organisations where Microsoft infrastructure powers the networks.
Was this always going to happen? The Microsoft software suite is so vast that it was always inevitable that security loopholes would be found and exploited; it’s logistically impossible for a company to defend itself from all the possible avenues of attack.
In total some two-thirds of all browsers worldwide are some version of Internet Explorer. Ars Technica reported this month that roughly another 25 per cent of browsers are Firefox and the rest is a mish-mash of nice products, with Google’s new Chrome being the rapidly-rising choice for many.
But perhaps security problems with your browser are things we’ll need to get used to. Switching browsers won’t be enough; it’s a bit like moving house because you’re worried about getting robbed but then buying a new place with no locks on the doors.
The web is here to stay and so is cyber crime, like its urban equivalent.
If everyone moves to the new browser, the criminals will just start targeting that one instead – and the non-Microsoft products may be less secure than IE. A 2009 report by American IT security company Cenzic found that IE accounted for only 15 per cent of the security loopholes it found in a survey of browsers. Almost half – some 44 per cent – of the vulnerabilities were in Firefox, and 35 per cent were in Safari.
So it turns out IE may be one of the most secure, but a bit like Lara Bingle’s Aston Martin, it’s just asking to be broken into.
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