Securty expert: Microsoft Internet Explorer ‘just cannot be trusted, use alternate browser’

“Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser to surf the Internet has become a marked risk – even with the latest security patches installed. That’s the upshot of the discovery of yet another Internet Explorer security hole being exploited by intruders bent on swiping personal information from unwitting Internet users,” Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz report for USA Today. “The SANS Institute Internet Storm Center issued an alert this week about pop-up ads designed to download a program that keeps track any time a PC user clicks to the log-in page of 50 financial institutions worldwide. The program captures log-in information and sends it to another Web site, before the bank can encrypt the data.”

“In a similar attack discovered last week, intruders sprinkled invisible coding that accomplished much the same thing on Microsoft Web servers that serve up hundreds of high-traffic commercial Web sites. Both attacks appear to exploit security holes in Internet Explorer for which Microsoft has not yet issued a patch, says SANS researcher Tom Liston,” Acohido and Swartz report. “Security experts say the two new attacks likely have been in operation for weeks, infecting tens of thousands of PCs. Given the history of cyberthreats, they are bracing for copycat assaults. ‘Internet Explorer’s track record is such that the software just cannot be trusted right now,’ says Jeremiah Grossman, CEO of WhiteHat Security.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Retake: If you’re a Mac user still slogging along with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (and our stats tell us there are still some of you out there), are you crazy? Please get with the program. It’s called Safari, it’s from Apple, and you can download it for free.

Requirements for Safari 1.2:
– Mac OS X 10.3 or later
– Any Macintosh computer

-Requirements for Safari 1.0:
– Mac OS X 10.2 or later
– Any Macintosh computer

More information and download link for Safari here.

MacDailyNews Note: You can use the Safari Debug Menu* to set Safari’s User Agent to one of many different browser choices if you need to access sites that are “blocking” Safari. Set your User Agent to “Windows MSIE 6.0” and you’ll be amazed at how many of these misguided sites will work with Safari.

*To turn on Safari’s Debug Menu, Quit Safari, launch Terminal and type:
defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1
Launch Safari and the Debug Menu will be active.

To turn off Safari’s Debug Menu, Quit Safari, launch Terminal and type:
defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 0
Launch Safari and the Debug Menu will be inactive.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Security firm warns of new Internet Explorer flaw, advises ‘use a different browser’ – July 01, 2004
Average Windows PC infested with 28 spyware programs – June 30, 2004
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software – May 16, 2003


  1. Apple should capitalize on MS’s continuing security problems by making Safari Windows compatible. Right now, I’m running Mozilla at work on a PC laptop — and it’s fine — but I’d rather support Apple.

  2. Unfortunately, there are still some sites (notably bank websites) that don’t work well with Safari. It’s the only reason I still use IE on my Mac from time to time. How ironic that bank sites require you to use a craptacular browswer with security holes throughout the program…

  3. Safari for MS XP? No way. Let ’em freeze. Apple should not become the XP security patcher. Making XP however more secure would keep people away from Apple.

    I secretly cherish the moments when my friends talk about their most recent XP/IE problems, and when they ask me for my opinion my reply is usually, “I have no idea what you are talking about. I have a Mac and I have never had those problems. Sorry!”

  4. I agree. We need to hear more security ‘experts’ coming forward and telling the world the truth about Internet Explorer. It’s Swiss Cheese compared to alternate browsers and most especially compared to Macs with Safari. I rather enjoy forwarding these articles to friends who insist I’m an idiot for switching to Mac.

    As for wanting to support Apple, Gene, do yourself a favor and get a Mac. You’ll not only *truly* be supporting Apple, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor, too.

  5. DakRoland, some of us have to use windoze machines at work because we’re not given a choice. I stated before, my office was looking at some new computers, but as a non profit we had to get some grant money. The local United Way has given us a grant for $5000, but only for windoze machines. They won’t let us use it on Macs. Like it or not, we go where the money is. If Mac supporters want us to go to Macs, I’d be happy to see that happen. Donations are tax deductible if you’re interested!

  6. I’m guilty of using MS IE part of the time. I need to check my mail from work using Outlook web access. It loads up into Safari, but pressing the buttons to send, open, edit, etc. don’t work….

    Good ol’ MS.

  7. The bad publicity is getting worse for IE. Wired News is reporting that no less an authority than the government’s “normally staid”Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued a warning about IE’s problems. Among the solutions offered is the advice to “use a different browser”.

  8. iggyb is correct about many sites not working well yet with Safari. I still have to use I.E. to listen to the stream from some radio stations, i.e. Cox using StreamLink. Java is also not quite right with Firefox or Safari.

  9. Actually SANS, CERT, US-CERT, and now the Department of Homeland Security have all issued warnings about using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Most recommend, at least temporary to use another browser. I just have to say this is super cool. Most IE users won’t listen to their IT help when it comes to switching browsers, but when you can point to two government departments, and other orgs, that’s a lot of credibility.

  10. I tell my PC friends to dump IE but they just dont get it.
    Its like my Christian Witness, I say ‘you must be born again’, but to the unsaved, God’s wisdom is elusive.
    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”(1Cor 2:14)”For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”(1Cor 3:19)

  11. I’m with Aryugaetu. Why warn PC-Users? They never listen anyways. How many times have we told them to switch? Countless times! If it crashes on them, it serves them right…

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