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German Government Warns Users Find An Alternative To Internet Explorer
engine

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Msg#: 4062363 posted 10:39 am on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

German Government Warns Users Find An Alternative To Internet Explorer [news.bbc.co.uk]
The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security.

The warning from the Federal Office for Information Security comes after Microsoft admitted IE was the weak link in recent attacks on Google's systems.

Microsoft rejected the warning, saying that the risk to users was low and that the browsers' increased security setting would prevent any serious risk.

However, German authorities say that even this would not make IE fully safe.


 

henry0

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 1:09 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

We all have our own setup for ex mine is: (dedicated to searches and email; Ubuntu and FF) Other machines XP and Wins7 with FF and Firebird just in case, but no web search or mail.
Nevertheless the real problem is not "us" but what will/could do the avg user, I'll be curious to know how many are able to d-loan and crank on a new browser :)

Don't tell me "But they know better" I actually ref to the strata of people not born with a keyboard in each hand!

Further regarding EU, I am a frequent USA -> EU traveler, with family in FR, it's unfortunate but I believe that the avg over forty/fifty EU user lack quite the basic PC "how to".

If Leo, reads this I bet he has some experience in that regard to share.

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 1:35 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

The difference in my experience is much more a professional occupational level one. Those in your family are more often not involved professionally with IT than those you are dealing with as an IT professional yourself.
EU or US will make little difference in my experience.

Age, interest in dealing with technology, etc. all do have their influence much more than where you live in the "western" world.

The biggest difference I see is a different reaction to threats: the US public is much more risk averse to certain threats, even being open to embrace other risks in order to feel like they did something about a much smaller threat in reality. But in our collective feeling we're all a bit irrational in risk evaluation (we like to reduce the perceived risk if we feel we're in control), and the media influences public opinion greatly in such aspects.

the_nerd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 2:12 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

avg over forty/fifty EU user lack quite the basic PC "how to".

Maybe these users are still naive enough to believe that after they paid for a computer and software they can simply use it like they use their car. Maybe they need another decade to learn that multibillion dollar software companies are not able or willing to build save products.

Just imagine something like that happened in the car industry. There'd be miriads of laywers filing class actions.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 2:29 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

A saber rattling press release is just noise.

If the German's were serious they would present all IE users hitting the web with a "change your browser" page served at the ISP level, offering FF, Chrome and Opera options at a click.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 2:32 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

What happens when the alternative browser we find becomes the target? Maybe Germany can build a browser for us that will be 100% secure? Is Firefox 100% secure? Opera? Safari? Chrome?

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 2:43 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you find a security bug in FF: will it affect users for months in a row till the vendor finally releases a patch ?
Or will the patch be available for all days after the discovery ?
Firefox being open source will even mean that 3rd parties can easily make effective patches, instead of allowing a vendor's intellectual property rights trump the safety of 65% of the world's population.

albo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 2:59 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

GOOG and Opera must be very happy about this, along with Mozilla, Safari being a poor performer on Windows.

tzmultimedia

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 3:11 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Vee haff vays.

One could be education towards a basic wariness of everything IT or media. Another could be telling the truth about the safety of your products and refraining from using your end consumers as test pilots, Redmond VA et al....

Zen effrysing vill bee gut.
Dream on.

yaix2

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 3:27 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@pageoneresults
They issued a warning due to the fact that there is no fix available. So if you're using IE, there is nothing you can do about it, you will get the virus if you visit an infected site. And, to answer you question: then they'd warn against the use of that alternative browser.

I don't know why this is a headline here in the forum, since it was not the first time such a warning was issued. The IE has un-fixed bugs all the time.

jecasc

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 4:38 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

For me this sounds like a no brainer. There is a browser with a dangerous unpatched security hole. So what should be done? Issue a "don't worry, keep on browsing" press release?

Right now its not safe to use the Internet Explorer. Period. This might change next week or in fourteen days when there is a patch available. But until then the advise to use another browser is the one anybody with a sane mind would give. Of course this does not rule out that next week a security hole in Firefox makes it unusable, too.

What happens when the alternative browser we find becomes the target?

Then there will be a warning not to use that browser until it has been patched. Like in 2008 when the German Federal Agency for Security in Information Technology issued a warning about Firefox.

[smh.com.au...]

GOOG and Opera must be very happy about this

Actually the German Federal Office for Information Security warns about using Google Chrome - for privacy reasons. ;)

[mashable.com...]

So whatever you do guys: DO NOT SURF THE INTERNET. And if you really must. DO NOT USE A BROWSER.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 4:56 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

What happens when the alternative browser we find becomes the target?

IE has a bad track record.

Furthermore if people switch browsers that have security failings, it gives vendors an incentive to fix them.

The naive users just need someone to install a browser for them and move their bookmarks over.

Also, do not underestimate users, they just need a little help with transitions. My 76 year old father switched to Linux (a much bigger move) with a little (not all that much) help from me.

tzmultimedia

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 5:15 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

'I don't know why this is a headline here in the forum'

yes that in the first place yaix2... are we having a 'summer gap' in the middle of winter?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 7:00 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

A similar warning in the US a few years back sent a major wave of users to Firefox.

As I mentioned in another thread on this topic [webmasterworld.com], Microsoft's response (or really, lack of response) is what disturbs me the most in the situation. It's ivory tower and pretty much spin instead of action.

So kudos to Germany for pushing the issue.

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 8:17 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

What surprises me is to continue seeing the "Average user won't know how to download, install, and use an alternate browser" comments.

I've guided dozens of "Aunt Edna" types into using alternate browsers with stunningly little effort.

What makes the difference is motivation, more than knowledge. If you have the brains to use a computer (even at a very basic level), then it's not hard to download and swap to a different browser. The UI's are surprisingly consistent between browsers (with the possible exception of Chrome - and even it's not that different).

What tends to block people is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). But when the can understand why it's a good idea to switch, most people muster the brainpower to figure out the how all on their own.

Kudos to the German government for providing a convincing why for an even larger section of the population. I actually earnestly hope that people decide to choose a variety of different browsers - and that not everyone just moves to FF. Browser mono-culture, no matter how good the browser itself, is just a bad thing overall. Single vector for attack, for one thing. And the web as a whole just doesn't need a single outfit determining the technological future of the web by default, by determining what new technologies it will or will not support. How long has full implementation of CSS and other useful web tech been held back because IE only has to support tech that it's easy for them to implement, because they know developers will have to accommodate the browser with all the market share?

My ideal browser share breakdown is about a dozen browsers, none with more than 30% market share, and a few niche browsers with low market share, kinda twitchy, but "far out" features that get the larger share browsers thinking about where they need to be going. That means a market with healthy competition, where each browser will have to innovate or die.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 8:34 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

My ideal browser share breakdown is about a dozen browsers, none with more than 30% market share, and a few niche browsers with low market share, kinda twitchy, but "far out" features that get the larger share browsers thinking about where they need to be going. That means a market with healthy competition, where each browser will have to innovate or die.

I agree. The sad thing is that it would be (technologically) very easy to get there. We already have four major rendering engines (Trident, Gecko, Webkit/KHTML, Presto), forks of Webkit, and a few minor ones that could be contenders (Tkhtml, for example).

We have lots of usable browsers, if people would only use them: FF, IE, Seamonkey, Opera, Chrome (and variants), Safari, Midori, Arora (if the SSL bug is fixed), Konqueror, Flock, K-Meleon, Camino.....

Then there are all the specialised browsers like Amaya, the ones for minor OSes (NetSurf etc.), and the text based ones.

JS_Harris

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 9:25 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

NOT using explorer just isn't enough. IE is the default net portal with windows and many applications, malicious and beneficial, connect to the net without a browser by using IE net protocols.

NOT using IE doesn't protect your computer, DISABLING it does. As you know IE can't be removed from windows based computers, it's part of the package, but it can be disabled in a fairly simple manner...

The steps:
- Turn on IE
- Under the TOOLS navigation bar go to INTERNET OPTIONS
- From the options window click on the CONNECTIONS tab
- Click on LAN SETTINGS
- By default IE automatically detects settings, turn this off by checking the "use a proxy server" box and set the address to 0.0.0.0 and the port to 80.

Save and exit.

That's it, now IE can't be launched and any application that requires IE protocols will fail. Set your UPGRADES to be "notify me of upgrades" if it's currently set to "download and install automatically" and your computer will be more secure.

Note: some programs like Adobe's photo applications, HP's printer applications and many other major brands of software/hardware like to set your computer to ping their servers for updates, these updates will also fail and some of these software applications may not react well to that (freezing computer etc). Take control and KNOW what your computer is doing for a change, it's not hard, and all of the connections being made by your computer that you may not even know about can be closed/monitored.

System
redhat


 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 3:43 pm on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

The following 3 messages were cut out to new thread by engine. New thread at: html/4063505.htm [webmasterworld.com]
12:57 pm on Jan. 19, 2010 (utc 0)

inactivist

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 11:04 am on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Take control and KNOW what your computer is doing for a change, it's not hard, and all of the connections being made by your computer that you may not even know about can be closed/monitored.

Amen to that. :D

It's frightening: the number of people I know who think a computer is like a toaster. And they don't own a Mac... eek!

You have no idea how many times I've heard the question "What's a web browser?" when trying to help older folks with computer problems... sheesh.

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4062363 posted 3:17 am on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The steps:
- Turn on IE
- Under the TOOLS navigation bar go to internet options
- From the options window click on the CONNECTIONS tab
- Click on lan settings
- By default IE automatically detects settings, turn this off by checking the "use a proxy server" box and set the address to 0.0.0.0 and the port to 80.

Save and exit.

That's it, now IE can't be launched and any application that requires IE protocols will fail.

such applications include other user agents such as the safari and opera browsers, so consider carefully before you follow this advice!

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