Is your Internet browser safe?
There’s a lot of confusion out there about how to browse safely in the midst of hot Flash troubles, Java jitters and Heartbleed pumping. Currently there are security advisories for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome. And before Apple folks get smug, this is affecting both Mac and Windows users.
So how do you protect yourself and your business?
For day to day Internet research and shopping, I recommend people go to the latest version of Firefox (version 29.0) just released April 29th. And make sure to install the latest version of Flash for Firefox (just uncheck all the addons they push on you before the download).
There have been tons of very technical workarounds provided for Internet Explorer but they are really beyond most users and will probably break most of the web sites you want to use. I recommend you only use Internet Explorer if the web site (like a bank site) requires it and it is a trusted, established web site (like a bank). Hopefully Microsoft will patch the problem on May 13th (next Patch Tuesday) but be advised there will be no patch for Windows XP.
What about Chrome?
Google Chrome protection for Heartbleed affected web sites is broken. Chrome is unable to detect if a web site has a legitimate certificate. This means you could think you’re shopping on a web site that says it is L.L.Bean but actually be just giving hackers all your account details. A more detailed explanation of this is here.
What about the next Internet crisis?
Over the years, Firefox has consistently provided the safest Internet browsing experience. Use Firefox.
Update May 1st
Microsoft has issued an emergency patch for Internet Explorer today including a patch for Windows XP. Patch now.