Could the world use yet another browser? Sure, if security is at the forefront of your mind. At the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest that took place this week, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all fell prey to remote code execution exploits by the second day. Not to make a mountain out of a mole hill, this isn't unusual, as every year hackers gather at CanSecWest's conference to show off their skills for prizes.
The encryption flaw was previously thought to only affect Google and Apple products
A few days back, Apple and Google products were found to be affected by a longstanding vulnerability, which stems from a now-defunct U.S. government regulation enjoining tech companies to use encryption no stronger than 512 bits in “export-grade” software — so that it could maintain a cryptographic edge over its adversaries. Well, how could Microsoft be left behind? The Redmond-based company issued a security advisory Thursday to warn that all supported versions of Microsoft Windows are also affected by FREAK (Factoring attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys), as the SSL/TLS flaw is called.
AV vendor inadvertently crippled millions of Internet Explorer installations
On Friday, a thread came up on the Norton Community forum from a user complaining of a Norton Internet Security (NIS) antivirus update breaking Internet Explorer on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. It soon swelled to multiple pages as droves of other users running Internet Explorer 9 and up on Windows Vista and up confirmed as much. Needless to say they were all very angry with an antivirus update, of all things, rendering a key software completely unusable (see what we did there?), and in some cases, forcing them to uninstall NIS.
The reason Microsoft is rolling with Windows 10 instead of Windows 9 for its next major operating system is because the changes are so dramatic, it warranted a generational leap in naming the product. That's the official story Microsoft wants us to believe, anyway, and while there are alternative theories -- like lazy coding -- there are parts of Windows 10 that are truly shaping up to be vastly different than Windows 8/8.1. That includes the browser, and word on the web is that Microsoft is rolling out a new vehicle for surfing through cyberspace in Windows 10.
When a Microsoft exec revealed that company currently has no plans of porting Internet Explorer over to Android and iOS during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, we were left scratching our heads as to why that might be. Here’s a possible explanation: It could be that the Internet Explorer team is too busy fixing IE for Windows to build entirely new versions of the browser.
You can run Microsoft Office on multiple platforms, and the same goes for some of the other products and services the Redmond outfit offers, such as OneDrive and Skype. With that kind of attention being paid to cross-compatibility, might we expect Microsoft to release its Internet Explorer browser on other OSes as well? Not in the near future. As it stands, Microsoft isn't planning to port IE over to Android or iOS in the mobile space.
If you want to know what the next version of Mozilla's Firefox browser will be like, you can opt for the beta or even Aurora release. The same is true of Google's Chrome browser -- there are different channels, including Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary (the only one that runs parallel to the others without any tweaking). But what about Internet Explorer? Taking a page from the competition, Microsoft today announced the release of the Internet Explorer Developer Channel, a fully functional browser designed to give web developers and early adopters an early look at the web platform and upcoming features.
Microsoft has warned Internet Explorer users of a remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2014-1776 ) that is present in versions 6 through 11. The company is aware of limited, targeted attacks aimed at exploiting the vulnerability, the Redmond outfit said in a security advisory issued on Saturday.
Windows XP support is entering its final stages. This coming Tuesday will see the release of some of the last security patches for the operating system which, despite its advanced age, still commands a sizable share of the PC market and simply refuses to die.