The Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser has a nasty history of being very insecure . If you surf the Web with it in its uncustomized, unpatched state, your computer is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of malware. It is about as safe as wearing pepperoni chaps in bear territory.
I have been showing you how to secure Microsoft Internet Explorer because there is no way of living without it. Some websites (such as the Windows Update site, for example) just won't work without it.
However, it's wise to access most websites with a different browser. The one that has gained the most popularity in the past year or so is Mozilla Firefox, a free web browser available from www.mozilla.org.
My dear friend and TV colleague, Leo Laporte, has been promoting the benefits of switching browsers since Firefox first appeared on the scene, and if you've heard about it before, it's probably in large part due to his influence. And for good reason: It is a lot more secure than Internet Explorer because it does not support VBScript or ActiveX, which are technologies used by malware to hitchhike onto your computer. It also avoids Microsoft's Java virtual machine, a piece of programming that enables programs written in the Java language to run on Windows. Firefox isn't without its own flaws, but it is innately more secure than Internet Explorer, which has as many security features as a fish sandwich.
Earlier I asked you to download Firefox's installation program. I hope you did because we're going to install it now. Double-click on the installer program's icon, and when the program launches, click Next (see Figure 9.25). Click the dot beside the I Agree option for the license agreement, and click Next. Choose the standard installation, and click Next twice. Then click Finish.
Figure 9.25. Use Mozilla Firefox as your web browser to avoid the massive security flaws in Internet Explorer.