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|Why you should care about what browser you're using. Or, Death to IE6!|
|Please let me precursor this article with the disclaimer that this is not a rant about one web browser being better than another. It is the disclaimer that one web browser is worse than every other - and you are probably using it - and it is costing your company money. You can find out which browser you are using by reading on to the steps below.|
So let's begin.
The internet browser is the application you use to access the internet. It's the window that gives you access to hotmail, facebook and pictures of cute cats with funny captions.
This browser also gives you access to your company website, information and web-based applications - of which there are an increasing number.
By default for many people, this browser is Microsoft Internet Explorer. If you are in a corporate environment and your computer uses the Windows operating system (read: your computer isn't shiny and white and doesn't have a logo of an apple on it) then you will have this browser on your computer.
Moreover, if you work within a fairly large corporate environment the version of this browser may very well be Internet Explorer version 6. Version 6 is Microsofts most popular and most flawed browser.
To understand version numbers and why they are important it is perhaps easiest to compare them to the year models of cars.
The original Volkswagen Beetle was a very popular car, even a Hollywood legend, but that doesn't suggest that the newer model isn't faster, safer, prettier and just better. Not by a long shot.
If you were driving through a dangerous neighbourhood at night and it's raining, would you want to be in an old Herbie (likely to get a flat tire or break down at the wrong time), or the new bug (so you can scream out of there using your GPS and early warning system)?
That's what Internet Explorer version 6 is. An old bug. Popular, yes. Useful, mostly. Loveable, not so much. Unbreakable? Reliable? Safe? Not even close.
Metaphors aside, internet security is a big problem. Yours truly has even been affected by the odd virus, spyware and even a credit card skimming operation which saw $500 withdrawn from my bank account at a McDonalds in Toronto, Canada.
Malicious technology is evolving. Hackers try ever smarter ways to collect your personal and private information. As a result, the technology we use has also evolved to outsmart those trying to break it. But many users don't take enough of an interest in online security.
These users are making the bad guys' jobs easier.
This is an issue because there are some very simple steps to take, which will ensure a safer online experience.
Read on to find out what they are...
|3 steps to a better and safer browsing experience|
Step 1 - Check your browser version. Open your internet browser, go to the 'Help' menu and then click on the 'About' link (the bottom one).
If it says Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6.***(there could be any numbers after the 6, ignore them) then you are using something akin to a horse and carriage (with a sick horse) when really you should be using a brand new Toyota.
Step 2 - Upgrade!
a) If you are not locked down in a corporate environment then Google 'Internet Explorer 8' for the quickest and easiest solution. Download it. Install it. Get rid of v.6 forever.
For an even better and safer browsing experience Google 'Firefox' or "Google Chrome'. These two browsers are even safer than the latest version of Internet Explorer, but they are slightly different to use.
Kind of like trading up from Herbie to a Mercedes SLK.
b) If you are in a corporate environment, talk to whoever is in charge of IT. Tell him or her that the whole system needs to be upgraded. Then tell the boss that by not upgrading they are potentially costing the company money in productivity as the web moves forward and IE6 is stuck in the last millennium.
A global survey commissioned by IT security vendor Symantec has found that it is near impossible to find a large enterprise that has not suffered some sort of loss from a cyber attack.
Remember, Internet Explorer 6 is over 10 years old now. That's a very, very long time in the tech world. Not only does it have compromising security holes, it doesn't even display web pages properly due to its non standards compliant rendering engine.
Step 3 - Take more of an interest in being safe online. Technology isn't going to stop evolving. Manage your passwords, check the security of pages, install a good anti-virus, don't open attachments from people you don't know - especially Olga from Russia - she's a crafty one.
Security flaws, display issues, frequent crashes, decade-old technology... Officially, Microsoft is begging people to upgrade.
They even ran a campaign donating food to starving children in America for every upgrade.
It's fair to say they stand behind their standards-challenged browser. WAY behind it.
So go make the web a safer place. Death to IE6!
PS: Nails in the Coffin
I found a couple more major movements denouncing the decade-old browser...
"'Funeral' held for aging Web browser"
"Amazon drops support for IE6"