Since Symantec released its report in 2005, Microsoft lobbyists have quoted the old document to make people believe that Internet Explorer is the safest browser today. Their idea is to tell users that Mozilla Firefox might make one's computer vulnerable to attacks.
Symantec, the company that flags Norton Antivirus, stated back then that there were 25 vulnerabilities in Firefox while Internet Explorer had only 13. This is the part that supporters of IE love to repeat. The part that they don't want us to consider is this:
1. The Mozilla Foundation started in 2003, so Firefox was a fairly young browser back then. Yet, its problems were solved in a period of THREE DAYS. Some of the noted problems of IE are still there today.
2. From the 25 problems in Firefox, only 8 were considered as real threats by Symantec ...the SAME NUMBER OF PROBLEMS THAT WERE FOUND IN INTERNET EXPLORER. This means that the young Mozilla product and Microsoft's 10-year-old browser WERE TIED REGARDING PERFORMANCE.
3. According to Secunia (a Danish company that checks the security of software products), up to 2010, IE keeps a total of 19 vulnerabilities that have not been fixed, while Firefox has only 3.
I have learned everything I know about computers empirically. Being a heavy Internet surfer, when I decided to use Firefox three years ago (I still used Windows back then), I discovered that IE was sluggish, prone to crashes and, above all, UNSAFE. I had little control over the browsing experience, which meant that I would catch lots of viruses by merely going online. I had to format my computer at least once every two months. By switching to Firefox, the number of infections decreased considerably. Of course I got viruses, but these came from USB drives, not the Internet. Thanks to the security add-ons in Firefox, browsing the Web became a less problematic hobby. I used (and have kept using) three add-ons:
1. WOT. It alerts you if you are visiting a dangerous site by blocking the page BEFORE you get in.
2. AdBlock Plus. This add-on blocks ads, which lets you browse faster and, at the same time, gives you protection against malware masked as Web page elements.
3. NoScript. It prevents Java script from executing. This might be problematic in some pages that require Java to run properly, but you can always choose to enable the scripts temporarily when you visit them (security implies a mild inconvenience, you know? Otherwise, we wouldn't have gates or locks in our houses. PROTECTION DOES NOT EQUAL COMFORT, BUT CONTROL!).
The argument that IE is the best browser because it is the one used most widely constitutes an AD POPULUM fallacy and a false perception. Many people use IE simply because it comes bundled with Windows OS and they know no better. However, if numbers justify anything, Firefox took 30% of the Web browser preference in November 2006 and kept going up. As a result, Microsoft launched its desperate spy campaign (I bet you have seen the dialog "Your system is vulnerable because the original settings have been changed, blah, blah") to make users who had installed Firefox commit to IE. Microsoft is saying that the slight decrease on the usage of Firefox in March 2010 represents satisfaction with IE8. I disagree. Firefox opened the eyes of users, so, depending on their preference, they now use Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, and even KDE's Konqueror.
This is the reality: In May 2010, the IE family (6, 7, and 8 combined) had a 26% usage while Firefox ALONE had a 46.9% usage. Combining Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari, the IE defector percentage goes up to 64.9%. Times change, Ballmer...
As for me, I'm not going back to IE. Much less with IE8...Who wants a browser that requires 4 Gigabytes of space to try to emulate the browsing experience you get with one that needs less than 8 Megabytes??
By the way, a firefox is NOT a fox, but a kind of panda (Ailurus fulgens)! This is it:
This site has many good pictures of the cute animal: