Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Safer web browsing

For most people, computer security is a cloudy subject.

For Windows users in particular: beyond practising good computer hygiene and keeping anti-virus software updated and running all the time, what can you do to protect your computer?

Answer: offer hackers fewer ways to get into your computer. And here’s one door you can close today.

Few pieces of software are hacked into as much as Internet Explorer, and for good reason: it’s the most widely-used web browser on the planet. Microsoft will continue to make it more secure, but as long as it remains the most popular browser, Microsoft and malicious hackers will continue their game of cat and mouse – Microsoft closes one security hole, and hackers find another.

You don’t need to play this game. (FYI: Mac users don’t, since there is no Internet Explorer for the Mac.). You can close many browser-related security holes by downloading, installing and using a less-popular but fully capable (and free) web browser like one of the following:

Since they aren’t as popular as Internet Explorer, far fewer (if any) hackers try to attack computers using attacks specific to these browsers.

To install a new web browser, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the web page for the browser you want to use.
  2. Click the link or button that says “download.”
  3. Choose the version for your operating system and begin the download. (Note where you download the installation file. If in doubt, download to your desktop – that should make it easy to find later.)
  4. Install the browser (by double-clicking the file you downloaded and following on-screen instructions.)
  5. During installation, you will be asked if you want to import favorites from Explorer. Say yes.
  6. Once the install is complete, put the installer in your recycle or trash bin – you no longer need it.
  7. Start the new browser.
  8. When asked if you want to make this your default browser, say yes. (This prevents things like links in email from starting Internet Explorer.)

How you can use this tip

If you use Internet Explorer on your computer, try another web browser for a week or so. If you don’t like it, try another.

Don’t worry about your favorites (aka bookmarks). Most browsers copy those from Internet Explorer as part of the installation process.

Don’t remove Internet Explorer from your computer. Even if you use another browser for just about everything, you may need Explorer for the occasional task.

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