You know how I feel about my friends up in Redmond, WA, right? I get really annoyed when Microsoft gets a bad rap for things. It’s the same thing that annoys me when people bash on Dell or other brands that are near and dear to my heart. One thing that Microsoft gets a bad rap for is Internet Explorer. I’m sure it will be no surprise to my readers that I almost exclusively use Internet Explorer. I use Firefox when I have to check the design of a website I’m coding, and for my sweepstakes entries. So people say that Chrome, Firefox and Safari and all much safer than Internet Explorer. Who wants to know the truth?
According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report it’s completely untrue! In the report Firefox topped the list with the most vulnerabilities next being Safari and then IE. Chrome was the only browser that had a lower vulnerability report than IE. When looking at vulnerabilities though, you want to check out how long it takes the company to patch these discovered vulnerabilities. Again, according the report the “window of opportunity” for an attack was also lowest with Internet Explorer. This means that the time between when the threat is discovered and the time when it’s patched. IE and Firefox patched their browsers in less than a day, Chrome was patched in 2 days, and it takes Safari 13 DAYS on average to patch!
Since Internet Explorer has the largest install base, it is going to be the prime target for the virus makers. Someone who creates a virus wants it to infect as many computers as possible. Therefore, they are going to target the programs that the majority of people use. This is another reason that people say Mac’s are so secure. It’s not that it is such a secure operating system (although Steve Jobs’ strangle hold over the programs he allows to run on it help it to keep vulnerabilities to a minimum, even if you do give up some of your free will/agency to use it), the main reason it’s so secure is that the install base is small. It is especially small in corporate environments, where a virus can do the most damage.
So make sure you have set up your computer for regular updates, and you should be fine, no matter what browser you are using.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com