Another Major Virus Alert

A worm is infecting Microsoft Web Servers and using legitimate corporate websites to spread itself through flaws in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Then again, if you’re running Mozilla Firefox you don’t have to worry as your browser is already secured against these attacks…

…not to mention you have the fastest browser on the planet, popup blocking, tabbed browsing, etc…

Why people still play the Russian Roulette with IE is beyond me…

13 thoughts on “Another Major Virus Alert

  1. I hate Firefox. I’ve been using it for the past two weeks.

    I’m sure that many people have their own reasons for preferring it, but I can’t help but think that a lot of it is motivated by irrational hatred of Microsoft.

    First of all, not everything works exactly right in Mozilla. A lot of pages display a little bit “off.” Certain plugins aren’t available (especially Movable Type right-click blogging).

    Second, I don’t get the big appeal of tabbed browsing. Why not just open multiple instances of IE? That works fine, and you can change between open windows with the familiar alt-tab rather than the awkward and clunky ctrl-tab. Besides, I find that many links on pages that are supposed to open up a new browser window actually open a new instance of Firefox anyway, rather than just a new tab. So what’s the point?

    Popup-blocking is a nonissue, as there are many excellent free popup blockers that integrate right into IE, not least of which is Google Toolbar 2.0 (which Firefox itself uses).

    As for Mozilla being the “fastest,” this really loses me. There is nothing slow about IE. I can’t think of an instance where the speed of the browswer made any difference at all. The browser is almost never the bottleneck, in my expereince. In any event, I have not seen any noticable speed advantage to Firefox over the last two weeks. If anything, it’s been slower to load many pages.

    The security issue is the one thing I can’t really comment on. I know people say Firefox is more secure. Maybe so. But so far, the supposed insecurity of IE hasn’t been an issue for me. As it is, I’m not willing to trade the reliability and usability of IE for the supposed security benefits of Firefox, given all the headaches that Firefox gives me.

  2. Well, to each his own, but as a web developer I can say that IE is the single biggest piece of crap in software history. It doesn’t follow basic standards. It’s CSS implementation is horrendously buggy. In fact, this page is perfectly valid XHTML (with a few exceptions due to WorldPress), but IE mangles the sidebar because it can’t handle the Iraqi Sovereignty Clock. Every other browser gets this perfectly right.

    I’d have less of a problem with IE if A:) Microsoft followed the specs they helped design and implemented basic CSS correctly and B:) didn’t try to tie an inherently insecure system into the most basic parts of the operating system.

    Personally, I can count the pages I’ve seen that don’t render right in Firefox in the fingers of one hand – and most of the time it’s because the page was made incorrectly to begin with.

    As for tabbed browsing, I was skeptical when I first used it about four years ago with the first stable builds of Mozilla. Now, I can’t live without it. When I’m researching something, I can have around 10-20 windows open with different pages on them – alt tabbing through them on the taskbar would be a major PITA.

    Given that running IE, even a copy patched with the latest updates, leaves you completely open to nasty security holes, requires you to regularly run multiple scanners to pick up spyware, trojans, and adware, and doesn’t follow basic standards, I can’t really see a reason why one would run IE. Yes, it requires changing a few things, but the benefit of not having to worry about your system being filled with malware more than outweighs the minor annoyances.

    (BTW, right-clicking on links and selecting “Open Link in a New Tab” overrides links that open in new windows – I do it reflexively now.)

    Of course, I’m not the only one to say these things.

    Nobody can force you to use a particular browser – and other choices like Opera exist, but running IE is just too dangerous with all the worms out there – and even patching isn’t enough to protect you anymore.

  3. I have been using Opera for about one and half years now, and am all happy about it. I don’t know about safety issues, but still using operating software with a 9x in its name, I have yet to be hit by all that stuff the advanced users are fearing 😉


  4. I haven’t really played around with Opera much (I’m too cheap to buy a copy and I hate ads in software), but I’ve heard good things about it. Personally, I wish I could afford a Mac so I could use Safari on OS X, but that will have to wait until I’ve finished buying furniture…

  5. See, standards is another one of those things I couldn’t give a fig about. 90% of the world uses IE, so most pages are going to display properly there, whether it follows some holy-writ “standard” or not. And I can tell you one web page that doesn’t display properly in Firefox: mine. Check the things in the right column, all of which are supposed to be centered, but several of which are not.

  6. The amazon box and the ecosystem notice (which is broken today).

    They both center in IE. They’re inside div tags that my stylesheet specified should be centered, and they’re coded exactly the same as the paypal button, the book club, the sitemeter bug, etc.

  7. I’m with Spoons.

    Now, I won’t get into the security argument because I simply don’t know enough about the differences and, besides, I haven’t had any problems. Not the same as saying that I never will, but so far (touch wood), not a single thing.

    What ticks me off is the same things that Spoons mentions. Stuff that works perfectly well in IE suddenly ends up looking weird or disappears altogether.

    An example of the latter would be the format buttons both in MT itself and in my comments boxes. They work just wonderful in IE and just aren’t there in Firefox (as well as the last build of Opera I tried before I deep-sixed it off the drive in disgust).

    And I simply don’t get it. They’re coded in there in perfect accordance with the nasty reference book I’ve got sitting right here on my desk and they show up just fine in IE, so why in the name of blue blazes does Firefox insist on f*cking them up?

    So I can either waste precious time debugging something that already works so I can view it with some third-party software or ignore it and just type in all of my formatting commands manually. Or I can stick with what works.

    How awfully hard could it be for the people that coded Firefox to make it compatible with something that 90% everbody already uses? Or did they sit around slapping their thighs about how they’d create something that would fUX0r up pages built with Micro$loth so they could all laugh at the 1U53rs and feel real 1337?

    Oh well, I don’t have to use it. It’s just that I don’t get it.

  8. Given the choice between having formatting buttons in MT (which do work across browsers in MT3) or having a system that works, doesn’t have gaping security holes, and doesn’t force you to take elaborate and entirely unnecessary steps to fix problems that should never exist from the first place.

    I can never understand the mentality that says that it’s too much work to switch to a secure browser but not too much work to be forced to run Adaware, Spybot, some popup blocker, etc, just to be able to work on the web.

    Given the choice between text boxes (which WP gets right across any browser), and not having to worry about my credit card number ending up with the Russian mafia or having to clean up porn spam on my computer every day, I’ll deal with the latter.

    BTW, as for your problem with centering on the sidebar, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. text-align: center aligns *text* to the center. A table will be aligned left unless you tell it otherwise. Add an align=”left” statement to those two tables and you’ll be fine. IE shouldn’t be aligning non block-level elements like that, which is another way in which Microsoft mangles the specs.

  9. But, Jay, that’s not my point (and I do apologize if I sounded belligerent, it’s just the way I am 🙂 ).

    My point is this: If it’s that easy to implement, then why did the people who made Firefox decide not to do it?

    I mean, it’s simple market economics. I like all the other features of Firefox just fine, it’s a good browser, and if they were to make it compatible with what I’m already using AND added the features that it already has on top of it, I’d switch in a heartbeat. Heck, I’d even pay for it.

    But instead they insist on being a pain the the behind for no obvious reason at all, and I just don’t understand that. Still, it’s no skin off of my nose, I’ll just continue to use what I know works, but I just don’t understand why it has to be that way.

  10. My latest reason for hating firefox is that after I’ve deleted it, I can’t get my system to recognize Internet Explorer as my default browser anymore.

    I’ve googled around, and this appears to be a frequent problem for people. I’m probably going to have to do a complete uninstall/reinstall of IE to get it to work again.

    This probably isn’t Firefox’s fault, but jeez.

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