Run to Your Bunkers

Album Cover: No Code

"Are you woman enough to be my man?"
Pearl Jam / Hail Hail

Posted on July 24, 2005 4:17 PM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Earlier this month, Internet security analyst Art Manion wrote a piece called A safe browser? No longer in the lexicon. Shortly after, Dean Hachamovitch, the head of the Internet Explorer team, got all turned on while reading it. This isn't surprising given the fact that Internet Explorer is every hacker's favorite wet dream of a target. Reading about how no browser is safe surely must give the IE team a warm and cuddly feeling inside.

However, before you stop using the web, step back for a second and ask yourself one question. Should I trust a guy with porkchops like these? Okay, one more question. Is browser safety a black-and-white issue or is there a grey area?

The answer to the first question is "of course not." The answer to the second is a little more complex, but I'm partial to the grey area theory. The main weakness of web browsers is that everyone and their grandmother uses them, so sure, a browser like Firefox is unsafe at times just like Internet Explorer is. The difference is that one of the two is selling your soul to the devil while you use it and the other is not, and to me, that is the real problem.

Afterall, how many times have you fallen victim to phishing attacks or ActiveX scripts taking over your hard drive? Even when I was an IE user none of that stuff ever happened to me. Sure, I read the news articles (and still do) about the latest browser vulnerabilities, but just because someone finds a vulnerability doesn't mean it has been exploited. And even when it has, it very rarely ever spreads in the way that something like Sasser or Code Red did.

The truth is, the most damage is being done by those spyware and adware-laden cookies that IE so mercilessly consumes like a pre-South Beach Diet Cookie Monster. If you don't believe me, use Internet Explorer for a week and then run Ad-Aware on your computer. Then use Firefox for a week and do the same.

So is there a completely safe browser out there? No, there isn't. That's just the reality. However, I do believe you're a lot better off using Firefox than you'll ever be with Internet Explorer. So remember kids, don't ever trust a guy with porkchops, and if you are working on a project that is practically doomed, instead of wasting your time reading gratis propaganda try and focus on the tasks at hand or else your biggest competitor will walk all over you.

Yes Dean, I'm talking to you.

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