Mozilla Downloads Rise Following US-CERT Recommendation to Drop IE

Friday July 2nd, 2004

Wired News is reporting that Mozilla downloads have surged following advice from the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) to avoid Internet Explorer for security reasons. Download numbers approximately doubled in the days following the US-CERT recommendation, which was made in the form of an update to an earlier vulnerability note and comments to the press. US-CERT is a partnership between the United States Department of Homeland Security — the government organisation set up in the wake of September 11th to prevent terrorist attacks — and the public and private sectors.

US-CERT's advice follows last week's outbreak of the Download.Ject virus, which exploited a number of holes in Microsoft's IIS Web server and Internet Explorer to install a password-stealing trojan horse on Web surfers' computers. Microsoft patched some of the flaws before the outbreak occurred and today released another update that protects against the vulnerability by way of a configuration change (though the underlying problem has not been fixed). Windows users should hotstep it to Windows Update (must be visited using IE) to install the patch, regardless of whether they use Internet Explorer as their default browser.

#30 Re: You mean there is no way to turn off IE???

by astrosmash

Saturday July 3rd, 2004 8:12 AM

You are replying to this message

There are many parts of a web browser that can be used for non-browser tasks: Scripting, Image viewing, XML Parsing. Microsoft puts all of this functionality under the IE umbrella, so when Microsoft refers to IE, it's referring to this stuff.

Windows developers have been embedding this browser functionality into their applications for years. So, even though you don't use IE as your web browser, many Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications do embed different parts of IE, if not the complete IE rendering engine. That's why IE is considered to be part of the operating system. New applications (QuickTax, for one) are increasingly using IE to render complete portions of their interface, as crazy as that sounds. Plus, scripting and XML parsing are fairly ubiquitous now.

I don't know very much about Mac development, but from what I understand Safari's rendering and scripting engines, WebCore and JavaScriptCore, are just as embedable as IE, so even if you choose not to use Safari, there may be other applications you use that embed some parts of Safari. Plan to use Dashboard in the next version of OS X? That's done with Safari. So the browser integration issues on Windows and OS X are essentially the same.