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Could switching my web browswer improve security?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:23 02 July 2010

Leum Dunn, of Get IT Dunn. Photo: Simon Finlay

Leum Dunn, of Get IT Dunn. Photo: Simon Finlay

Alternatives to Internet Explorer offer clear advantages, according to IT expert Leum Dunn

The IT expert

Leum Dunn, founder of Get IT Dunn

Could switching browser improve web security?

Business needs the internet. We order everything we can online, from our business cards to our next mobile phone.

It informs our choices and offers reviews on our purchases. We even look up potential employees on Facebook in order to vet them prior to interview.

Business needs the internet and there's no going back.

Most of us have an opinion about websites we like and what draws our eye and companies will spend a lot of effort making their website as easy as possible to navigate.

But did you know that the software you use to view a website with, can affect how it looks and works?

In recent weeks the world's most popular browsing application, Internet Explorer came in for some heavy criticism. It was the weak link that allowed hackers access to the accounts of a number of Google's high profile email account holders.

In light of these security breaches both Germany and France's governments have urged their citizens to switch to a more modern browser.

Admittedly our own government hasn't followed suit, but since switching to an alternative offers both increased security and functionality, I strongly advise using an alternative browser.

There is a lot of choice nowadays, so here's a brief rundown of the top five free alternatives:

Firefox is the browser the IT crowd recommend to their families. It benefits from active and rapid development which keeps it secure and up to date, it's easy to use and can be customised with 'add-ons'.

Opera pioneered modern features such as 'tabbed' browsing (a feature now found in all of these browsers). It is fully compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium's standards and has won a number of awards. It's the browser of choice for most IT professionals.

Chrome is a newcomer to the scene and is heavily focussed on speed. It is gaining ground due to heavy promotion and its excellent compatibility with Google's 'Cloud Computing' applications.

Safari will be familiar to users of the iPhone. It has a growing fan base due to Apple's current popularity but in terms of features and security it falls behind its competitors.

Internet Explorer 8 is the current replacement for IE6 and is a definite improvement over its predecessors. If you don't want to switch from IE, make sure you run Windows Update to patch the problems that caused last month's security concerns.

Any of the above can be found easily using your favourite search engine and you don't need to uninstall one before trying another. Why not try them all?

t Get IT Dunn offers PC fault diagnosis and repairs, computer building services and basic IT tuition. For more information visit www.get-it-dunn.co.uk

About Ask the Experts

Are you running a business and need advice on a tricky issue? Or are you thinking of becoming your own boss but not sure if it's for you? Then the Evening News Panel of Experts is here to help.

The panel - all experts in their fields - can answer questions ranging from problems with tax returns and affordable IT to general business advice, the benefits of green practices and how to deal with the emotions of going it alone.

The panellists are Richard Salmon, business advisor at enterprise agency NWES, James Banham, partner at Banham Graham chartered accountants and business advisors, Anne Francis, west Norwich business coach at BizFizz, Zaour Israfilof of environmental consultancy 3 Carbon Elements and Leum Dunn, who runs his own IT company, Get IT Dunn.

Do you have a question for the panel? Email Evening News senior business writer Sam Williams at sam.williams@archant.co.uk.

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