Earlier in the week Microsoft unveiled a new online security test to help educate users on the dangers of surfing with outdated browsers. The concept is noble, but they also succeeded in stirring up the Mozilla folks, and with just cause. The site yourbrowsermatters.org gives visitors the impression it is verifying features to assign a well-researched security score between 0-4, when in reality, it does little more than check the agent string to see what brand and version you are using. Internet Explorer 9 rakes in a perfect score of 4, IE 8 comes in at 3, and the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome come up at 2 & 2.5 respectively.
Even though Steve Jobs retired, his mammoth, forward-looking hit-or-miss vision is still leaving its fingerprints all over the tech industry. Case in point: Adobe Flash. By now, everyone knows that Apple refused to allow Flash to run on iOS systems. For the Metro (read: mobile) version of IE10 in Windows 8, Microsoft’s not only blocking Flash functionality, it's jumping whole hog on the HTML5 bandwagon and restricting plug-ins entirely.
Apparently Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser leads the pack in more ways than just market share. With regards to IE9, socially engineered malware (SEM) barely has a chance of wreaking havoc, according to a study put together by NSS Labs. The study's data has IE9 way out in front of all other browsers tested with a better than 99 percent protection rate.
While we may question the sanity of anybody still clunking around the Web with the decade-old Internet Explorer 6 – even Microsoft wants that dinosaur to die – we wouldn't go as far as to say that the people who use IE are stupid. That didn't stop AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting from doing it, though. Last week, the group released a report that claimed that IE users had the lowest collective IQ of users of any browser. Stop chuckling, "Like"-clicking Chrome and Firefox fans – it turns out we're the idiots. The whole thing was probably a hoax.
Every month we examine the state of the browser market in terms of market share, and it's usually more of the same. Internet Explorer, while still dominating with over a 50 percent share, slides downward month after month. Firefox, still the biggest threat to IE if looking at the numbers and not the trend, also continues to lose market share, but at a much slower pace. And Chrome, which popularized the concept of a minimalistic browser interface, just keeps gaining ground. While all this has been going on, Apple's Safari browser has been closing in on the big three.
If like most Maximum PC readers you’re the first person friends and family call when looking for tech advice, you might want to think twice before suggesting they move away from Internet Explorer. According to a recent report from NSS Labs, Internet Explorer 9’s dual-pronged approach to blocking malicious URLs wasn’t just slightly better than the rest; it’s pretty much night and day.
Microsoft this week rolled out a second preview of its Internet Explorer 10 browser. Like the first, IE10 Platform Preview 2 is primarily intended to give Web developers and designers an early look at the upcoming features so they can prepare accordingly. Outside of a handful of demos, there isn't much for the average user to play around with -- it doesn't even ship with a URL bar -- but it does reveal that Microsoft appears to be on the right track.
Stuck in the shackles of a subpar browsing experience because your boss swears by the robust feature set offered in IE6? Want IE9's HTML5 support, but can't get it because your company's still using Windows XP? Google wants to help. They've offered the "Chrome Frame" plug-in for older versions of IE as a technological band-aid for years, but you've always needed admin privileges to install it. Not anymore – the newest Chrome Frame iteration bypasses the need for admin rights entirely, allowing tech-savvy corporate computers users to give the middle finger to IT departments throughout the world.
We don't like IE6. Neither does Microsoft. In fact, the company actually maintains a site dedicated to telling the world how badly IE6 sucks and pleading for everybody to just stop using it, already. Their aim seems a bit off, though, if the numbers released today by metrics company NetApplications are any indication. IE6 is definitely losing market share, but the browser seems determined to drag its younger brothers kicking and screaming into the toilet with it.
Hopping around the web downloading programs willy-nilly is a surefire way of putting your PC's security software to the test. Think you're in the clear if you download judiciously? If only! According to Microsoft, 1 out of every 14 programs downloaded by Windows users contains malware. What's worse, even though Internet Explorer 9 has multiple layers of security designed to protect surfers from socially engineered malware attacks, 5 percent of IE9 users blatantly ignore the warnings.