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Couldn't disagree more, jwenting.

Now I'm not going to get into 'value judgements' here about what people do on the internet. The simple fact is that 'seedy' areas of the internet exist, and people frequent them. In that regard, the internet is no different to any other facet of human activity. All I'm concerned about is the extent to which the existence of those 'seedy' environs impacts on me!

I'm also not 'buying' the claim, that " Problem is that most people don't set up their browser correctly". I've just had this discussion elsewhere, on a different topic, where a professional PC technician was attacking my colleagues and myself for freely offering people hardware advice and assistance. "Ordinary people don't service and tune up their cars", he claimed, "and ordinary people shouldn't be servicing and tuning up their PCs." He was wrong to assume that nobody should have the right to perform the work themselves, but he was perfectly correct to state that most people don't do so! The same is true for browser configuration. Let's face it. Most people fire up the system and simply use it, and they have a right to expect that they should be able to do so. I don't accept the claim that people who do so are 'irresponsible'.


Windows is NOT a secure Operating System in the way some other OS's can be. Some of the fundamental concepts underlying the way Windows works makes this so. Applications are allowed to acess the Windows Registry, and thus alter some of the ways the Operating System itself works. When that application is, in the manner of Internet Explorer, allowed to integrate with the core of Windows itself, and alter key Operating System files, then we have a nightmareish situation. Some other web browsers, such as Firefox for example, are 'bolt-on' applications, which operate largely in isolation from the core of the OS. The difference is like comparing a person who transports a dangerous animal in a crate on the back of a utility vehicle, with one who transports that dangerous animal in the cab with them!


When you view a website you download code onto your system. If 'hidden' within that code is some which is malicious in nature, you want to be damn sure that it's kept isolated from the innermost workings of your machine. Nowadays, such 'hidden' code can be so sophisticated that it is triggered off by the fact that you've displayed a single pixel in an image on a web page!


Most of the 'net nasties' are advertising related, and this, zeroth, might go some way to explaining why your wife's system attracts more 'nasties' than yours. Her computing habits are doubtless different to yours, and they may expose her to more risk of infection than you experience. An advertisement might spark her curiousity, a 'close' button on an advertising box may be something else in disguise. There will definitely be differences in the places you visit and the way you interact with them.


So, how does this all affect me? Quite simply, the more prolific such rubbish is, the more careful I need to be myself, and the more time I need to spend on the problem. The more 'nasties' which are spread, and their increased sophistication, puts me at an ever increasing risk. And the more people who have systems which are a major invitation for such things, the more traffic there is in them. That slows down the whole blasted internet. That means that advertising borne intruders start to creep onto even the most careful of websites. Simply put, it acts to magnify the problem. Have a look at the traffic you see in our 'Viruses and Spyware' forum section, and on other sites around the internet. The vast majority of those problems are experienced by Internet Explorer users!


No, the answer is not to blame the person at the keyboard. They are simply working their computer. The answer is to encourage people to use the most secure products available. If, like yourself, someone has computing habits which do not result in intrusions, then fine. But for everyone else, and that is by far the vast majority of users, the answer is to use the most secure product available, and Internet Explorer is not it!

Change browsers, people, and do it NOW!

In the course of my employment I come across lots of people who use their machines for lots of purposes. Sometimes my work necessitates that I visit those 'seedy environs' myself, and to intentionally expose a system to their ravages. I can only conclude from my experiences though, that no matter WHAT a persons internet activity is, those people who use Firefox or similar are at much less risk than those who use Internet Explorer.

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...why your wife's system attracts more 'nasties' than yours. Her computing habits are doubtless different to yours, and they may expose her to more risk of infection than you experience. An advertisement might spark her curiousity, a 'close' button on an advertising box may be something else in disguise. There will definitely be differences in the places you visit and the way you interact with them.

Zeroth, to expand a bit on what Catweazle said here, instead of closing popups with the X (which some use to 'execute'), right-click on the ad and select Close; this may help prevent some of the problems.

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I'm also not 'buying' the claim, that " Problem is that most people don't set up their browser correctly". I've just had this discussion elsewhere, on a different topic, where a professional PC technician was attacking my colleagues and myself for freely offering people hardware advice and assistance.

just another example of the ¨guild theory¨. These people think that just because they chose this as a profession, everybody else should roll over and pay them their pound of flesh. I´m not saying that their work should not be paid for. But to force someone to use a technician is getting away from the freedom and choice that the computer movement started with. It´s getting so bad that when you go out and pay for some software, after a time, when you ask for support, the manufacturer leads you down the garden support path on his web site or phone support page until you get to the point of asking the question and they say: ¨Please deposit $30 and we will answer your question¨. (couldn´t help commenting on this:rolleyes: )

When you view a website you download code onto your system. If 'hidden' within that code is some which is malicious in nature, you want to be damn sure that it's kept isolated from the innermost workings of your machine. Nowadays, such 'hidden' code can be so sophisticated that it is triggered off by the fact that you've displayed a single pixel in an image on a web page!

Most of the 'net nasties' are advertising related, and this, zeroth, might go some way to explaining why your wife's system attracts more 'nasties' than yours. Her computing habits are doubtless different to yours, and they may expose her to more risk of infection than you experience. An advertisement might spark her curiousity, a 'close' button on an advertising box may be something else in disguise. There will definitely be differences in the places you visit and the way you interact with them.

Thanks, that´s enlightening and well put! Is there not a program out there that can examine key strokes and protect, for example, against clicking on a button disguised as something it´s not? It would seem to take only a comparison of what the website is about, what the buttom is supposed to do and the code hidden behind the button to keep us from making a mistake that could cost the computer´s integrity. (I realize I´m simplifying things but you get the point). If these guys can exploit us in the ways you have described, I would think that someone could make a lucrative enterprise out of an add-on that would protect us to some extent.

Change browsers, people, and do it NOW!

But what about stuff like Crunchie reported in his thread ¨Another exploit found in FireFox¨? I use FF on a couple of computers and this makes me feel as unsafe as you have made me feel about IE. What´s one to do...

Votes + Comments
good point
Good posts in this thread :) -- dlh
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I'd suggest you look into just what those 'exploits' are before getting all panicky. the last Firefox one i saw a lot of people carrying on about was one where if a website address could be 'spoofed' by replacing certain international characters with characters that looked similar, some small degree of access could be obtained. Hardly likely to affect you, and not really anything drastic, the way I read it.

Hardly comparable, either, to the risks faced by IE users ;)

It'll get worse over time, as more people change browsers, but for the moment there are better choices by far than IE.

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Well, thanks to dlh for the popup tip, I'll pass that on to my wife. And thanks a bunch for your comments catweazle, you've cleared up the murk somewhat for me!

My wife is one those users who can't change horses from what she's used to. I've tried to get her on FF but she says she doesn't like it. I personally can't see why. Then when I explain that there isn't much apparent difference, she says she can't get on some of her web sites. I called her on that one and she proved me wrong. She's a teacher and she goes on to a site that offers jobs in the system she's in. She's always checking it and applying for positions that pay better, but I checked her out on that and it's true. The web site won't let you on when you are using FF.

I realize I don't know a whole lot about browsers and what they can do, never got into the technical aspects of this, just a user. But if she can't get on, then that's that. I suppose I must do something about learning more about this when I have the time and inclination.

Oh, and I still can't paste anything into one of these messages while using FF, which is the only reason I'm still using IE while on Daniweb...(I get an error that I must edit my Mozilla config file to allow this action - I can´t find the config file anywhere in the help)

Again, thanks for this discussion, it's a good one...

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The config file can be accessed by going to about:config in Firefox. Don't ask me what half of that stuff does, though...

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Oh, and I still can't paste anything into one of these messages while using FF, which is the only reason I'm still using IE while on Daniweb...(I get an error that I must edit my Mozilla config file to allow this action - I can´t find the config file anywhere in the help)
Again, thanks for this discussion, it's a good one...

And you end up using 2 browers. lol that was my experience. and when you have a problem, which Browser is causing the problem,etc,etc,etc.

Edited by Dani: Formatting fixed

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kosmoe, Firefox doesn't have fixes and updates in the way IE does. The Mozilla org. releases new installs instead. There have been 3 since the product was released in final form. Also. Firefox has nothing to do with AOL. In years gone by, AOL used the Netscape browser, which Firefox is distantly and remotely connected to, but then of course humans come from the same family of animal as lemurs, don't they?

If the article you linked was actually saying the things you claim it was, I'm not surprised it was removed. I've not come across the 'Information Week' site before, and that effort doesn't really make me want to check it out ;)

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If the article you linked was actually saying the things you claim it was, I'm not surprised it was removed. I've not come across the 'Information Week' site before, and that effort doesn't really make me want to check it out ;)

Well if you don't want to know all the facts, that's your perogitive. And i don't really care for your shortsighted comments anyway. So if you've never been to that site before does that mean it's invalid. I have no doubt you believe you are a monkey. Myself, i was created by God.

Edited by Dani: Formatting fixed

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Fair enough. That article is actually still there and I've read it thoroughly.

http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=160900911

It's a heap of codswallop! Mr Langa does himself no service at all with the ridiculous arguments he uses or the baseless assumprions he makes when trying to present data in a meaningful way. I'd suggest you also read the reader reponses, because they point out the huge holes in his line of argument ;)

http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=160903774


I hadn't realised that 'Information Week' was one of the offshoots of TechWeb. But simply because it's attached to a reputable news organisation doesn't mean it's correct. Question what you read, for goodness sake. The fact that it's published doesn't make it incontrovertible truth!

By the way, if you think I shouldn't be criticising Mr. Langa because he's a journalist with a 'Professional' site, then rest assured that I reserve the right to. I'm one of those 'Professional journalists' myself ;)

Some time during the next year or two or three, Firefox might become somewhat of a problem security-wise. Right now, however, it's in the very lead group of alternatives available to windows users, and that's why it's the choice of discerning and more knowledgeabale users!

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There are more critical issues (meaning issues that allow an attacker to take over the entire machine) open in FF than there are in IE at this time, and they take longer to fix on average...

There's 2 reasons there are less exploits for them:
1) those exploits are often written by Microsoft haters (a.k.a. slashdotkiddos) who don't want to sully the name of their own brainchild
2) the rest is written by people that do it for money and those won't target a browser that has such a small market share, it's simply not economically viable.

And that's for browser-specific exploits. Most exploits aren't and will affect the target computer whether IE or FF is in use.

If and when FF gains a large share of the market the slashdotkiddos will get bored of the limited impact of their crimes and start attacking FF anyway, while at the same time the commercial writers will start seeing profit in targeting FF.
At that point all hell will break loose.

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Right now, however, it's {Firefox} in the very lead group of alternatives available to windows users, and that's why it's the choice of discerning and more knowledgeabale users!

I like FF a lot but there are things you can't do with it. My Mom and I use the same computer sometimes and with FF you can't logout of Daniweb and log back in. It keeps putting the same user up. So we use IE out of necessity.

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The config file can be accessed by going to about:config in Firefox. Don't ask me what half of that stuff does, though...

That´s the problem I´m having with fixing the paste feature. There are no definitive instructions for how to fix it.

Just for those who are interested, I found how to change the configuration file (that´s the error I get when I try to paste with FF - it says you´ve got to update your config file) by going to Firefox HELP (on the FF web page) and finding a url ref ¨edit the configuration file manually¨ - there is no reference to a config file in FF itself under help.

When you go to this section about manual edit, you find that you can put in about:config, as mmiikkee said, and it will bring up a page of options. I found this line: editor.singleLine,pastNewlines with a value of 1. How does one know what to do with that.

Pretty obscure stuff...

I really like FF as a browser and would like to use it exclusively. However, I have found too many things I can´t do with it. I have had problems with IE in the past, as catweazle has alluded to, but since I formatted that computer that the problems were on and started over, I haven´t had anything happen so far. I´m even using that computer without any kind of antivirus at all, as a test. (I am running antivirus and spy software to see what is happening) But so far, so good.

The long and the short is that when I´m using IE, it does whatever I want. When I´m using FF, there are things I cannot do. In the absense of picking up strange bugs, I can´t see a reason to switch to FF, as then I have to use two browsers.

I guess I should go onto the FF page and tell them about the problems with the config file. I just have no idea how to proceed to change it as the error message says...

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Try Mozilla instead then.

It's an 'Internet Suite' but you can do a custoim install and not include the mail client or other extras. Mozilla is more easily configurable by the user.

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Try Mozilla instead then.

It's an 'Internet Suite' but you can do a custoim install and not include the mail client or other extras. Mozilla is more easily configurable by the user.

I´m surprised with this response. You guys are the reason I tried FF to begin with. I like it. I just don´t understand why it´s so difficult to configure it, especially to do something that any program that has ever been written allows you to do. Maybe the question is: who decided to leave the text editing functions out...

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Both Mozilla and Firefox are web browsers developed and made available by Mozilla.org.

It'd be arguably more accurate to describe them as different varieties of the same browser than it would be to describe them as different browsers. The guide linked in my initial post makes mention of Firefox, Mozilla or Opera as preferred options for use as a web browser.

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Fred Langa of The Langalist is not God. But he is the straightest shooter i've come across in 3 yrs on the Net. Since his article about FireFox and IE recieved so much attention, He decided to Update and Review his take on them. My view is that he is saying that there are differences in FF and IE and if you want a more complicated Browser to use FF ( to use those extra brain cells?) or if you want a simpler Browser to use IE. IMSO

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There is a slignt incompatibility between the latest Netscape and Firefox browsers and web pages produced by Excel.

See my post in this forum on a workaround.

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... and web pages produced by Excel.

*cough* *choke* *shiver* Bad web designer, bad!

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A "slight" incompatibility is a incompatibility. Changing browers is like buying another used car,you trade one set of problems for another.

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Viewing web pages created by Excel is like researching the bloody used car purchase by talking to the freakin used car dealer!

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So in your exalted position, being a publisher and meateater, that you think he is full of crap?

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Anyone already used Opera?
I used it for a while before I discovered Firefox...
Same experiences, but the free version of Opera has publicity banners.

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Just a slight variation on the Firefox platform. Been using "Smartfox" [on a friends pc]


Smartfox reviews at Download.com

Seemingly based on Firefox 0.8. Apart from it hawking/touting a search site called "smartplane" as the default search being a slight pain, I've found it "lighter" on the WIn98SE system and capable of running most of what Firefox 1.0 plus would. The friend went to Smartfox after Firefox 1.03 and 1.04 failed in their installs.

Just a note.

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Oh dear. Please do NOT use that. It is an already outdated and less secure version of firefox. It is NOT a different browser at all.

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I agree with catweazle. It's just a hardly changed old version of firefox...

[edit] Haha... the reviews for smartfox are all bad... why are you suggesting it? [/edit]

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Viewing web pages created by Excel is like researching the bloody used car purchase by talking to the freakin used car dealer!

I found a trick for viewing Excel pages:

If the page is all scrunched up to the left, hit Reload. Repeat if necessary. Usually it works after one or two tries.

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