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  • Don't Give Up Just Yet on Internet Explorer

    Experts urge caution on Firefox

    Hackers are beginning to turn their attention to alternative browsers, and as they take a larger market share, vulnerabilities will inevitably be found.

    Many of us are no fans of Micro$oft, but we have to live with their products; In the mid 90s I had both Netscape and IE installed, used whichever had the latest version till Netscape was bought by AOL ~ 98. Rumor had it AOL disabled Netscape’s built-in popup stopper, which upset many Netscape users.
    The Internet community “credits” AOL with inventing popups (up there with telemarketers)
    Bigdoc

  • #2
    I still prefer Firefox. Tabbed browsing, speed, neat add ons. Its my primary browser. I keep IE up to date because some sites/java scripts don't work as well.

    I aint afraid of hackers, well, I do hide behind firewalls and proxy servers, so I guess I am somewhat fearfull.
    The FDA has not evaluated my safety or efficacy...

    Comment


    • #3
      Its interesting how Java " the FREE my ass, open source which is not gunna change the world which it didnt code.
      Messes up firefox and really bad..
      I am just about ready to think its a Sun plot but the other side of me know that Mc Nutty (Sun dude) would never do anything to make MS look good..
      Oz

      Comment


      • #4
        IE vs FireFox

        It always makes me laugh when these magazines, and particularly "the Gartner Group" (both receiving heavy funding from Microsoft), attempt to make an open source, superior application look bad.

        Microsoft's whole ploy is fear.

        Sure, you can argue, "there are no viruses for linux or mac because not enough people use them"... BS.

        Open source is better - plain and simple. Better programmers, a hell of a lot more of them, and problems are FIXED before you get slammed (unlike MS, where you get hit and then they issue a fix).

        FireFox is superior in every way... but lets look at the real problem... no matter how great the browser, the underlying OS is the weakest link.

        Any WEBSITE that can HIJACK Administrator priviledges on the LOCAL machine (ie. Windows) through the browser has got to go.

        Worse case scenrio... if an exploit does make it through FireFox and you are on a Linux box - it will only affect the local account - FireFox does not have root priviledges.

        I believe the proctologists on this forum will agree... opinions are like a$$holes, everyond has one, most stink, and anything from "PC" Magazine or a group funded by MS is going to offer "anti-open source" advice. So here is my non-clinical advice - if you use IE, get a good proctologist because you are going to need treatment after taking it a few times from the latest daily exploits.

        Look at the real stats... IE - 59,345 known exploits - FireFox - 0

        Microsoft is LOSING the open source battle... Linux is growing at something like 5 times the rate Windows is... firefox is cutting major market share from IE... In govt. the Dept. of Homeland Security is advising all agencies to use FireFox, and to cease use of IE... it's not a mandate, but it could be coming. People are learning they have a choice.

        Mike

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        • #5
          i love firefox, plus whenever someone in my office uses my computer they don't go into firefox because they haven't heard of it, and it says just like i want it.

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          • #6
            Don't Understand

            Lemme ask a really stupid question from a non-techie wannabe.

            I understand that IE is a browser and that these are required to get onto the internet. I understand that MS makes IE as a package with Windows and Firefox is another way of getting on the internet.

            OK. Now, what is "open-source" programming, why should I care about it and what is all the fuss? I really am not being sarcastic. I know that I spend about $200/yr for upgrades, anti- this and anti-that at home and work. Except for one little glitch a while back all these "antis" seem to be working. So why would I care if open source coding is there or not? PLus-forgive naivete-if something is "open source" doesn;t that mean that the hackers know the codes to break into the browsers too?

            I will say this. I am old enough to remember when Prodigy was the premier service, you logged on with a blazing fast 8 meg RAM and the logo was a blue crayon-drawn star on a yellow crayon-drawn background. I had a hell of a lot more fun in those days surfing the net than today. When I upgraded my computer and finally got broadband I spent more time educating the firewalls what I did and did not want admitted than in putting together the machine and linking it to the ISP. It is sooooo dreary now with warnings popping up about things I barely understand and have no idea how to even follow-thru, b/c they NEVER EVER tell you what the HELL to do about it.

            PHOOEY!
            Docshrink

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            • #7
              The underlying code that "talks" with the hardware, other software and graphics et al is for the most part hidden from the average user. The kernels, drivers et cetera can be open source (meaning that someone with the correct editor can read/edit/alter the code to suit and the post the altered code back to anybody else to do the same). The originator does not charge a fee to open the code and its covered under free use licences (if you make it better, you're not supposed to take fees on). That way anybody can test/program/debug/compile the software and post if for others to critique and change. Linux is one example. You can download it for free, alter and post your stuff for others to review. If accepted your changes get added to the core kernel. Anyhow, the guys who do this stuff sit around and sort of collaborate and churn out software.
              Microsoft is very protective of its code. Developers have to pay a fee just to program/edit parts of it. Very few can get access to all of it. They protect their "ownership" of the code and make it tough to adapt. I suspect this gets some hackers goats and thats why they target weakness in said code.
              Technically, its your modem or network card/software that establishes a connection to the internet. The browser uses that connection to read web pages (files). These files are in (usually) hypertext mark up language (HTML). Any browser (and some word processors, spreadsheets et cetera) can read and interpret/display .html files. IE is a sort of super browser as they have integrated it into the file system and other components of the operating system. Its big and cumbersome. Firefox is only a browser, it doesn't do filing, email or system settings. As a result its low overhead and fast.
              Anyhow, IE comes with windows (it ain't free), and you're stuck with using it like they want.
              Firefox is a free download and has lots of customizable features. The guys who make it/maintain it do not charge. They make little tweaks and upgrades available as needed.
              The FDA has not evaluated my safety or efficacy...

              Comment


              • #8
                Linux (Open Source) has been very successful in the server market, this website is run on a Linux server.

                There are now plenty of programs that run on Linux including Open Office, a suite similar to Microsoft Office.

                I think for the most part, Linux and many Open Source programs are still very much for enthusiasts.
                Bigdoc

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                • #9
                  A Little Less Confused

                  Thanx so far. So basically anybody can adjust the programming that rujns the computer/hardware/software interfaces. The modem and NIC careds, I assume, do not care what the browser is, theywill just log onto the ISP.

                  Now, for the second part. Is there a central Linux HQ where the tweaks are checked to make sure they are not malicious? And if hackers can get into the codes, why could THEY not chage the codes for their personal machines that would make them able to break into other peoples' computers?

                  Also--I assume-- the basic structure of codes, being binary instructions cannot be TOO different from language to language can they? A Ford sparkplug will still work in a GM car. (Or is that a silly analogy?) So why can't you go backwards from what MS gives you and figure out what their "secrets" are? And why would IE be sooooooo vulnerable to attack when an "open" platform is not? I think I am missing a concept here.
                  Docshrink

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by docshrink
                    Thanx so far. So basically anybody can adjust the programming that rujns the computer/hardware/software interfaces. The modem and NIC careds, I assume, do not care what the browser is, theywill just log onto the ISP.

                    Now, for the second part. Is there a central Linux HQ where the tweaks are checked to make sure they are not malicious? And if hackers can get into the codes, why could THEY not chage the codes for their personal machines that would make them able to break into other peoples' computers?

                    Also--I assume-- the basic structure of codes, being binary instructions cannot be TOO different from language to language can they? A Ford sparkplug will still work in a GM car. (Or is that a silly analogy?) So why can't you go backwards from what MS gives you and figure out what their "secrets" are? And why would IE be sooooooo vulnerable to attack when an "open" platform is not? I think I am missing a concept here.
                    Just because the source code is available does not make it vulnerable... generally speaking, since millions of people see the source code, all of the security holes are patched before anybody can exploit them. With IE, aside from being poorly written like it's underlying operating system (Windows), it is close and easy to exploit. If a security issue is found in open source software they fix it before anyone knows.... nothing is perfect by all means, but if you have 30 million programmers working on a project out of love and the desire to be the best - versus MS and their team of 100 fighting battles all day long, it's not hard to see the more solid application.

                    In regards to "anyone modifying the code".. this is true, however, in order to be a part of the final release, it has to go through FireFox, or RedHat, etc before it's "official". Only downloading from the official release sites is the safe bet.

                    If you want the best of both worlds take a look at Mac OS X. I was a linux advocate... a very strong one... but OS X has passed linux 10 fold, is open source, and unix based.

                    Mike

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                    • #11
                      I have been a computer enthusiast for more than 20 years. When I first got started, back in '83, I considered the merits of DOS vs Apple and went with DOS because it was open and allowed the freedom to hack and innovate, whereas with Apple you mostly had to take whatever Apple gave you. Beginning with MSDOS, I progressed through most of the iterations of Windows and have been using XP now for about 3 years. I run a server and three workstations in my office on it, connected to the internet by DSL through a Netgear firewall.

                      Lately, I have been experimenting with Linux (mostly Debian). As an OS, it's better than Windows, safer and more stable (though I have to say that XP is very stable). Linux is much more configurable as well, if you have the time and interest to learn how. There are programs in Linux to do everything you do in Windows, albeit they are usually not as eye-pleasing on the screen, in my opinion.

                      I get frustrated and angry all the time at Microsoft and Windows and all the baggage and extra expense that using it entails. I would love to to ditch Windows and move to Linux today, but a couple of the major programs I use to manage my practice, QuickBooks and especially Medisoft, only run on Windows. (WINE makes it possible to run Windows software on Linux by emulation, but I don't think it is good enough yet to entrust vital functions to it.) I have managed to ditch Internet Explorer for Firefox, though I had to rewrite a lot of Javascript I use in my office home page because it was written for IE, which M$ purposely makes non-standard. Ditching Outlook Express for Thunderbird (way better than Outlook Express) was effortless because Thunderbird automatically imports all email. I am experimenting with Open Office in hopes that I can eventually replace M$ Office as well.

                      I think Linux and "open source" will eventually dethrone Windows, but not for some time. The available Linux GUI's need further polishing, it needs to be made more user-friendly and, most important of all for physicians, major software vendors and "open source" writers need to come out with Linux versions of major financial and practice management software. For now, at least we are beginning to see open source Windows programs that are better than the M$ offerings.
                      Last edited by docporter; 02-20-2005, 03:49 PM. Reason: Typo
                      God made man upright, then he learned to count...

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                      • #12
                        Welcome aboard Docporter, good to see another doc with similar interests. I followed a similar path from the DOS days. I am happy with Linux but have to live wih Microsoft for a lot of stuff especially at work
                        Bigdoc

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                        • #13
                          /root

                          Originally posted by mpike
                          Any WEBSITE that can HIJACK Administrator priviledges on the LOCAL machine (ie. Windows) through the browser has got to go.
                          Mike
                          So true.

                          What must be seen as insane is the fact that Microsoft, in order to justify the monopolistic practice of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, they claimed that the browser NEEDED to be a part of the OS. This action alone made compromising windows child's play. Crash the browser, escalate your privileges, the computer is yours.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EMRhelp.org
                            So true.

                            What must be seen as insane is the fact that Microsoft, in order to justify the monopolistic practice of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, they claimed that the browser NEEDED to be a part of the OS. This action alone made compromising windows child's play. Crash the browser, escalate your privileges, the computer is yours.
                            All the more reason to use Firefox, which is vastly superior to IE anyway.
                            God made man upright, then he learned to count...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by docporter
                              All the more reason to use Firefox, which is vastly superior to IE anyway.
                              I'm not on Micro$oft's payroll, but it was only a question of time before hackers turned their attention to Firefox in numbers
                              Bigdoc

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