ScanIT, an Internet security consultancy, reports Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was unsafe 98 percent of the time, during 2004. The data were collected from 195,000 internet users who used ScanIT’s online security checker. The reported 98 percent unsafe rating is based on security holes being found in fully-patched installations of Internet Explorer on every day of the year 2004, except the week between October 12 and 19.
A fully-patched installation of Internet Explorer doesn’t mean that the user is safe from malware. For over half of 2004, 54 percent of the time (200 days), a worm or virus was in the wild that could take advantage of additional vulnerabilities for which a patch was not available from Microsoft.
So, what is a computer user to do? One free alternative is to use Mozilla FireFox, rather than Microsoft Internet Explorer. During the same period, ScanIT found that FireFox was vulnerable only 15 percent of the time (56 days). Another alternative is the commercial webbrowser, Opera, which was vulnerable for 17 percent of 2004 (65 days). Either of these alternatives is an excellent first step toward decreasing the risk of being attacked by internet-delivered malware.
ScanIT’s website will report common security problems that may put you at risk; it’s worth a visit.
Another site, Steve Gibson’s Shields Up!! will help you detect a general set of security risks to you system.
Use both sites, ScanIT and Shields Up!! to help you detect your risks.
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