Here’s an article about Firefox addressing the misconception that Firefox is somehow “more secure” than Internet Explorer. It’s not. It has its own security problems – more than Internet Explorer – and it is under increasing attack. It’s also got bugs that have been driving me nuts. Don’t be fooled by the evangelists.

Firefox is an Internet browser, an alternative to Internet Explorer. It’s free, it brings sorely-needed competition to the browser market, and it’s supported by an enthusiastic community of developers and supporters. It has some mildly interesting features that Internet Explorer lacks (many people like tabbed pages in a single window instead of multiple browser windows), and it’s not from Microsoft, which is a strong endorsement for some people.

Firefox’s reputation for security largely exists because it doesn’t support Microsoft’s ActiveX controls, which are used by many companies to deliver rich web experiences. When you go to one of those sites with Firefox it doesn’t work. If the site is malicious, that’s a good thing. If the site is a legitimate site offering a useful service – your bank, say, or Microsoft’s Windows Update site – then using Firefox is an exercise in frustration.

Symantec’s Internet Security Report recently noted that there were more security vulnerabilities reported for Firefox and other Mozilla browsers than for Internet Explorer in the last six months of 2004. It was only recently that the Mozilla Organization began issuing security advisories of the sort that Microsoft issues every month, making it difficult to find out what security problems have been discovered in Firefox. Bugs aren’t fixed until there’s a new program release – and those have been frequently delayed. Here’s an article about how Firefox and the Mozilla Organization deal with bugs and security problems.

Try Firefox if you like, but keep your antivirus and antispyware programs up to date and continue to be paranoid while you’re online. And be prepared for the bug that I’ve run into twice when Firefox is uninstalled that prevents you from clicking on a link to a web page in an e-mail message until a file association is repaired – an annoying and potentially dangerous bit of work.

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