Friday, June 25, 2004

One of the lines you hear about why typical commercial, closed source software is a better deal for the customer than open source stuff is that there's someone standing behind it, to support it if it breaks, and to accept liability if it goes egregiously wrong. The warranty disclaimers in typical software licenses seem rather incompatible with that second point, but you do hear it anyway.

Well, Microsoft Internet Explorer has a couple of security holes which are being widely exploited -- and even people who visit only web sites they trust may still be at risk. There are now reports of criminals cracking web servers at banks to use them as a platform for launching attacks on home computers which are at risk from IE bugs.

If you want to use IE, there isn't really much you can do to protect yourself -- Microsoft has not yet put out a fix for the bugs in question. Even the antivirus folks, who are effectively in the business of protecting users of Microsoft software from the security holes that Microsoft themselves won't be bothered to fix, haven't caught up yet.

So, if you want software which is immune to these problems you have two choices. One is to download an alternate browser without the problems, perhaps one of the open source offerings from the Mozilla folks. Or, if you really believe in having someone to sue, you could try suing Microsoft. But do be sure your lawyer reads through those warranty disclaimers first...

via Slashdot, which also offers Microsoft's suggested workaround: set the IE security setting to "high", which breaks a lot of sites -- and if you need to use one of those, you can mark it "trusted", and hope it hasn't been cracked...

2 Comments:

Blogger Michael Miller said...

Months ago, I downloaded several browsers to see how they displayed publicdomainprogress.info.

IE and Avant display the web site as intended, but FireFox (latest build) ignores my linked style sheet.

Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?

5:33 PM  
Blogger Michael Miller said...

Answering my own question...prompted by this post and my query, I went back into diagnostic mode only to discover that the linkage was working but most of styles in the style sheet were not. It appears that FoxFire bails on syntax errors and is much more picky than IE. After an hour or so of experimentation, I got it producing similar results under both Browsers. My bad...

2:07 PM  

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