Browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari

If you’re still using IE…

Stop.

Please, for the love of all things good, close IE, and use something different. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, whatever. Use a different browser.

I’m not asking you to walk away from IE forever. I dislike it as a browser, and I strongly object to the continued reliance on long outdated versions of it, but I recognize that IE really is some people’s browser of choice.

And that’s fine. That’s more than fine. Your browser is your prerogative, and the Internet needs more competition in the browser market, especially given the continuing rise of webkit.

But Saturday night, Microsoft issued a security advisory about a significant vulnerability in every version of IE. And when I say “significant,” I mean even the Department of Homeland Security is telling people not to use IE now, and they don’t generally issue warnings about software.

Because I can hear some of you arguing with me already, here are a few reasons you have no excuse not to make the switch to another browser for the time being.

“But no browser is 100% safe…”

That’s true, but every time a vulnerability, especially one this large, is announced, the announcement is like a gun going off at the start of a race as any malicious hackers who didn’t already know about that vulnerability look for ways to exploit it before a fix is released. It’s safer just to switch to a different browser until the problem’s been patched.

“I’m not an idiot; I have good browsing habits.”

Great! But you can misclick, and you can still be misled. Why not minimize the risk and switch to a browser with fewer vulnerabilities temporarily?

“But I’m not comfortable with any other browsers.”

I know changing browsers can be disorienting and challenging. A little discomfort in the name of protecting your information is probably worthwhile, though. Almost every major browser offers tools to import your settings and bookmarks. Take advantage of those, and the replacement browser will feel a bit more like home right off the bat.

Like I said, it doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but it’s an important one to make for your own security. I rank this right up there with changing your passwords post-Heartbleed and freezing your accounts when your wallet’s been stolen. It’s simple, common sense security that can save you a lot of grief in the long run.

There’s just no good reason not to do it.

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