Microsoft’s Edge to Test Browser Extensions

In this day and age, people enjoy customizing their experience with everything. The same goes for their experience when browsing online and with the likes of Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome offering countless extensions Microsoft’s latest browser, Edge, seems to be lacking the feature. That looks to change with Microsoft looking to test browser extensions for Edge soon.

The revelation comes from a change on their Edge extensions website, giving us an idea about now just what’s going to happen with their extensions but also what the first three will be.

First up will be a translation tool, followed by an extension for Reddit and finally an extension based on mouse gestures. If this doesn’t interest you the next part may, with the extensions compatible with Chrome as well.

Given their recent decision to end porting of apps from Android to Windows phones, the ability to use the same app’s on Edge and Chrome could entice people to explore the browser a little more, even if it does come with Windows 10.

Using extensions may have to wait though with the feature looking to be inserted into a future insider preview meaning that those of you who want to keep running a “stable” operating system may have to stick to Firefox or Chrome for that personal web feeling.

Edge and Internet Explorer Browsers Lose Ground to Make Way for Google

It’s no big secret that Microsoft’s browsers are often swapped for offerings from Mozilla and Google, but it looks like their popularity has declined quite a bit last month, at least according to a recent report by Computerworld. Apparently, Edge and Internet Explorer accounted for 44.8% of all browsers used to reach the web in February 2016, and it’s worth keeping in mind that this number was at 57.4% last year. The numbers are still higher when compared to Google’s Chrome, but if the decline doesn’t stop at some point this year, the two companies might trade places as No.1 and No.2 on the chart eventually.

This is particularly worrying for Microsoft, because while Internet Explorer and Edge’s popularity saw a decline, Chrome was actually recording an increase in user share. At the end of February, Chrome reported a user share of 36.6%, which represents a 1.5% increase when compared to January and an 11.9-point increase when compared to February 2015. As far as Firefox is concerned, it gained just three-tenths of a percentage in order to climb to 11.7%, while Apple’s Safari also recorded a growth by two-tenths and reached 4.9%. The main problem with Microsoft seems to be related to Windows 10 and its default Edge browser. By “forcing” users to move to a new operating system with a new default browser, the company gave them the opportunity to rethink their browser choice and move over to rivals such as Chrome. If you ask me, Edge is definitely not a bad browser, but it still needs to receive several upgrades and new features in order to be able to go toe-to-toe with Chrome.

End of Life for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 on Tuesday

Internet Explorer has few fans amongst the tech community, with it’s blatant disregard for web standards and numerous security and privacy issues over the years. It has been some time in the works, but Microsoft has announced that the ‘end of life‘ of these older versions of their web browser as of Tuesday.

The ‘end of life’ announcement comes with a patch to go live on the 12th of January, KB3123303, providing a few final bug and security fixes for the browser, as well as introducing a ‘notification feature’. This feature will inform users upon starting the software that they should update to either the last supported version of IE, 11 or the new Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10. Those stubbornly wishing to stick to their current version of IE and enterprises that are yet to transition from the unsupported versions the notification can be disabled. Microsoft provided a step by step guide to this process, however, it does involve editing the registry, so the less experienced user may just be better giving in and updating.

In a way, it is surprising that support for Internet Explorer has lasted so long, with Microsoft demoting the browser to ‘legacy’ status last year and planning to end support for it’s older versions since 2014. Whether this move by Microsoft will drive the hundreds of millions of users of outdated IE users to update to 11 or make the jump to Windows 10 with Edge is debatable.  The move may just drive the users to competitor’s browsers instead of upgrading as their copy of IE becomes a security liability.

Microsoft Edge Has the Same Security Holes as Internet Explorer

Hopes were so high. After years of being the butt of every browser joke for its poor performance and woeful security, Microsoft announced that its ailing browser Internet Explorer was being replaced by Microsoft Edge with the release of Windows 10. But a recent investigation by Woody Leonhard of InfoWorld has revealed that the security holes in Internet Explorer have been carried over to Edge.

“With Microsoft Edge, we want to fundamentally improve security over existing browsers and enable users to confidently experience the web from Windows. We have designed Microsoft Edge to defend users from increasingly sophisticated and prevalent attacks,” Microsoft declared back in May.

I was an early convert to Edge, for its sheer speed alone, after obtaining my free upgrade to Windows 10 in July, but I soon started to sour on it for its rudimentary design and lack of extension support. I left both Edge and Windows 10 behind within a month, reverting back to my original copy of Windows 7. A timely decision, it seems.

Leonhard looked at the most recent patch for Edge, released on Tuesday (8th December), including an examination of its list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs). The patch included updates for both Internet Explorer (MS15-124) and Microsoft Edge (MS15-125). 11 of the security holes patched in IE also had to be patched in Edge, while 4 CVEs in IE were also present in Edge. In addition, the official cumulative CVE list for Microsoft Edge has 14 entries, 13 of which have also been identified as issues for Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Discouraging Users From Downloading Competing Browsers

Microsoft is aggressively pushing the Edge browser in Windows 10 and trying to prevent users from downloading an alternative such as Chrome, Firefox or Opera. By default, Windows 10 only includes Microsoft products such as Edge or Internet Explorer 11 and you have to use Bing to procure a different browser. If you search for any other leading browser, a message pops up and proclaims, “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10,” and contains a “Learn why” button next to that message which directs you to a website outlining Edge’s feature set. In lieu of these revelations, Microsoft issued a statement which reads:

“Microsoft Edge was designed exclusively for Windows 10 with features and functionality that enhance the browsing experience such as Cortana, Web Note and Quick answers,”  

“These notifications were created to provide people with quick, easy information that can help them get to know these experiences better. That said, with Windows 10 you can easily choose the default browser and search engine of your choice.”

This kind of advertising isn’t limited to Microsoft as Google often argues the benefits of using Chrome. Although, EU courts have come down quite strong on Microsoft for pushing their browser.  In 2013, Microsoft were fined £481 million by a European court for engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. Originally, Microsoft divulged information about other web browsers to stop Internet Explorer’s unfair monopoly. However, this feature magically disappeared after a Windows 7 update. Microsoft argued this was due to a technical error. Whatever the case, it seems Microsoft is once again pushing their own browser and could be misconstrued as being unfair to the competiton. On another note, I’m not entirely convinced the notification will make any user refrain from downloading a competing product.

Thank you Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Internet Explorer Celebrates Its 20th Birthday

The Internet Explorer isn’t the youngest application anymore, in fact, it could celebrate its 20th birthday yesterday. That’s quite a milestone and while it has been discontinued and replaced by the new Edge browser (formerly known as Spartan), it will undoubtedly be around for many more years on systems that won’t get a Windows 10 update. For a lot of people, Internet Explorer was just a tool to download another browser after installing Windows onto their systems, but the statistics show how many people actually used it and still do. And it is a lot.

August 16, 1995. That was the date when Microsoft revealed Internet Explorer 1 as part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit that was included as part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95. Version 2 came shortly after on November 22nd of the same year and brought along the introduction of Cookies, SSL support, and Newsgroups. From there on there were many version until Internet Explorer 11 saw the light of day on October 17th, 2013, the final version of Internet Explorer.

From now on it will be Edge and it has come off to a good start. While some do complain about it being memory hungry, other enjoy the speedy web browsing experience that it provides. Edge was officially announced in March this year, which also was the time that it got known that Internet Explorer would get the ax. Probably the best choice, even if they made Edge and called it Internet Explorer, people would stay away based on the name alone.

Thank You TechRadar for providing us with this information

Four New Bugs Have Been Found in Internet Explorer

I know most of you don’t even use Internet Explorer and we all know how it was humiliated throughout the years. However, since the new Microsoft Edge might be using some IE code, it’s worth pointing this out anyway.

It looks like security experts have encountered and disclosed four new vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s browser. The researchers have noted the issues through Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative, a program which creates detection signatures and also reports them to their respective vendors.

Microsoft has already been notified, however, ZDI gives 120 days to the vendor to fix them. So, since Microsoft is more focused on Windows 10, the issues were not resolved and limited information about them have been released to the public. By limited information, it means that the actual code affected has not been released for the wise guys to figure out an actual working exploit.

However, one of the four exploits seems to have been disclosed in more detail. This is because at one of ZDI’s contest back in November, a hacker used the exploit and provided ZDI with the necessary information on how to take advantage of the vulnerability. If you’re curious, the exploit can be found here.

The remaining vulnerabilities are just theoretical at this point, but Microsoft should look into patching them as soon as possible before someone else manages to find a way to exploit them further.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

YouTube Live Streaming Now Available With HTML5 and 60FPS Support

It looks like the old Flash Player is going to be scrapped sooner than expected. After enabling support for HTML5 video playback, YouTube is now extending that support to live streaming sessions. This means that users can now watch live streaming videos on HTML5-enabled browsers and at 60FPS!

The slow process looks to have started late last year, when every video uploaded on the streaming service could keep its 60FPS ratio. Up until October last year, all videos were automatically converted to 30FPS once uploaded. In addition to the latter, YouTube quietly made HTML5 its default player early this year, so it would make sense for the company to continue towards fully integrating the HTML5 player.

The technology is now widely supported in all major browsers like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari and even Internet Explorer. However, YouTube stated that the HTML5 playback for live streaming is still undergoing development, so don’t expect it to do miracles just yet. Still, the technology now is able to deliver 720p or 1080p at 60FPS and users can even skip backwards in a live stream or even play around with its play speed.

Let’s not forget about the hardware here. I mean as good as HTML5 player sounds, it still needs some hardware specs to have it run at 60FPS. This is why YouTube comes with an option to change playback to 30FPS, should 60FPS be too much for your device. Nevertheless, we are moving towards a 4K video playback era, so it’s likely everyone will upgrade their hardware sooner or later.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information

Microsoft’s Spartan Browser Included in Latest Windows 10 Preview Build

The latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview has given us the first glimpse of Microsoft’s new browser, codenamed Project Spartan. Initially thought to be a direct replacement for the much-maligned Internet Explorer, it has since emerged that Microsoft is to phase out the old browser gradually, with Spartan taking over in stages.

Users on the “fast ring” of the Windows Insider program have access to the Spartan preview, on Windows 10 Technical Preview build 10047, immediately. Those on the standard build cycle will have to wait a few weeks, at least, until they get their hands on the new browser.

This first public release of Project Spartan shows off some of its fledgling capabilities, such as support for Cortana (the company’s digital assistant, intended to feature on all future Microsoft platforms), pen integration, and its new rendering engine. Microsoft stresses, though, that the browser is still in its infancy and as such should not be considered complete.

Next month sees Microsoft’s developer conference, at which it is expected that the company will reveal more about both Windows 10 and Project Spartan as we creep towards a projected Summer release.

Source: TechCrunch

Internet Explorer Is Getting a Name Change

Despite no official word, rumors are that Microsoft is ditching the Internet Explorer brand for something new, and all we know for sure now is its code-name, Project Spartan. During the Microsoft Convergence, Microsoft’s marketing chief Chris Capossela revealed that they are working on the new brand now, and its new name. He said:

“We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10. We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is code-named Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

Internet explorer will remain in some version of Windows 10, mainly for enterprise use, and Project Spartan will become the primary web browser for the majority of Windows 10 users. Over the pas several years, Microsoft has been vigilant in trying to change the perception of Internet Explorer, mostly unsuccessfully, by going as far as mocking older versions in ads. In the end, that may have helped the decision of the former chief of Internet Explorer leave the company in December, thus bringing on the changes happening.

Capossela did a study on how using Microsoft’s name instead of continuing to call it Internet Explorer, and the research data shows just how much the Internet Explorer name does not do itself justice. On the results Sapossela said:

“Just by putting the Microsoft name in front of it, the delta for Chrome users on appeal is incredibly high.”

The research shows us that Microsoft has some solid name choices out there, but hasn’t given any idea of when they will officially release any major info on the new browser. Seeing the response to “Microsoft” browsers, we can see the probable direction they will take, and make sure nothing about the name has anything to do with Internet Explorer.

Source: The Verge

First 64-bit Firefox Build Released

Mozilla has joined the 64-bit browsing party with Firefox for Windows, but only in the Developer Edition for now; it’s a start right?

The Developer Edition is a special version of Firefox with built-in tools for creating websites and web apps. While OS X and Linux already have a 64-bit version, Mozilla is just adding a Windows build with 64-bit support now.The main advantage of 64-bit browsing is the ability to address more than 4 GB of RAM, allowing for beefier web apps. As an example, Mozilla points to games that run on Epic’s Unreal Engine, noting that a 64-bit browser can store significantly more assets in memory. “For some of the largest of these apps, a 64-bit browser means the difference between whether or not a game will run,” Mozilla wrote in a blog post.

Beyond the additional memory, Mozilla says the 64-bit browser is simply faster, speeding up JavaScript code through new hardware registers and instructions that aren’t available with the 32-bit version. In one test of certain JavaScript applications, throughput improved by 8% to 17%. It’s unclear when 64-bit browsing will make its way to the main version of Firefox for Windows. But given that the Developer Edition is on version number 38, and the stable version is on 36, a mainstream release is probably a few months out. If you’re running the Developer Edition now and want to switch to 64-bit, Mozilla recommends uninstalling the Win32 without deleting your profile, and then downloading the 64-bit version.

Thanks to PCworld.com for this information

Next Microsoft Windows 10 Preview Will Include Spartan Browser

Windows 10 testers will be pleased to hear that Microsoft’s new internet browser, Project Spartan, will be available in a new build of Windows 10 Preview very soon. Kevin Gallo, technical lead for Windows universal apps for Microsoft, confirmed the news at the Mobile World Congress earlier today.

Microsoft first demonstrated the Spartan browser – intended to replace the much-maligned Internet Explorer – at a special Windows 10 event held in January of this year. The browser is based around an all-new rendering engine and will feature Cortana voice interface integration, inking support, and customisable tab grouping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKjkfkAmzAg

In addition, Microsoft demonstrated Spartan for Windows 10 Phones at MWC, which looked very similar to its desktop counterpart. It seems reasonable to assume that a forthcoming version of Windows 10 Preview for Phones will also carry Spartan.

Source: The Verge

Mac OS X and iOS More Vunerable than Windows and Linux, Surprised?

With the recent increase in sales of all things Apple, its once strong perception of being very secure is losing steam, especially thanks to the sale over notebooks and iPhones. In a recent report from GFI, both OS X and iOS are the leaders for vulnerabilities. Surprisingly all Windows distributions come in with less than Linux. OS X leads the board with whooping 147 vulnerabilities, of which 64 are labeled as “High Risk”. iOS comes in second, with 127 total, and 32 “High Risk”. Unexpectedly Linux comes in third with 119 total, and 24 “High Risk”. We can see the final results in the table below.

In 2014 alone, GFI reported a total of 7,038 new security vulnerabilities, up greatly from 4,794 in 2013. 294, or 24 percent, of the 7,038 new vulnerabilities came in as “High Risk”

GFI’s Christian Florian had the following to say in regards to Linux’s surprising place:

“2014 was a tough year for Linux users from a security point of view, coupled with the fact that some of the most important security issues of the year were reported for applications that usually run on Linux systems.”

Specific examples as reported he listed were:

“Heartbleed, for example, is a critical security vulnerability detected in OpenSSL while Shellshock is a vulnerability that affects GNU Bash.”

To clarify, all versions of OS X (Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, etc.) were tested together, yet all major Windows versions got their own testing. THis could be due to duplication among all the versions of Windows, which leads to the very close results for each version. Had this been done with OS X, we could have a better reference between competing versions of OS X and Windows.

Despite the individual results for iOS, we do not have any individual test for Android, which has become a very popular target recently. This could be due to Android being included with the Linux OS’ and could be a leading source for the Linux OS.

Digging deeper into the world of the vulnerabilities we see individual testing for various applications, such as web browsers, plugins, and other run-times. Not so surprisingly here we see Internet Explorer leading the board with a generous 242 vulnerabilities, which almost doubles the next closest entry, Google Chrome. Only making matters worse for Internet Explorer is that 220, 91 percent, are “High Risk”. Usually  leader, Adobe Flash Player came in “only” fourth place with 76 vulnerabilities, but had a very high percentage of “High Risk”. Oddly we do not sure Safari by Apple included in these tests.

Your safest bet to avoid falling prey to any of these vulnerabilities, as suggested by GFI, is keeping browsers, Java, your OS, and any other run-times used up to date. With Adobe products being often used, they suggest ditching these products all together.

Source: HotHardware

First Look at Microsoft’s ‘Spartan’ Browser for Windows 10

Tech website BGR has been given a sneak-peak of Microsoft’s new web browser, codenamed ‘Spartan’, that will replace Internet Explorer in the forthcoming Windows 10. The screenshot above – an older iteration of the in-development browser – shows that the aptly-named ‘Spartan’ is stripped-down and minimalistic, with only a smattering of basic icons on display.

In spite of its appearance, though, reports suggest that ‘Spartan’ will boast some impressive new features, such as integrated voice commands and the ability to run different browsers inside it, which would be especially hand for web developers.

BGR’s source confirms that ‘Spartan’ is still only a codename, but they refused to be drawn on what its actual name might be.

Source: BGR

 

Microsoft to Ditch Internet Explorer

Poor Internet Explorer. Slow performance, poor security, and the butt of jokes and memes for over a decade.

Its feelings obviously hurt, there will be no Internet Explorer 12 to accompany Windows 10 next year. Microsoft is officially retiring the browser and replacing it with a new, improved model, codenamed Spartan. As its name suggests, Spartan will be a lightweight, stripped down browser, in the same vein as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera Next. Spartan will be available for both desktop and mobile devices, though Windows 10 will ship with Internet Explorer 11, for compatibility reasons.

Though no release date has been announced, further news is rumoured to be revealed on 21st January, 2015.

Source: FavBrowser

Google Chrome… A Battery Killer for Windows-based Laptops?

Forbes appears to have found a major flaw in Google’s popular browser, Google Chrome. It is said that the Chrome browser consumes more battery that Mozilla’s Firefox and even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, significantly reducing the device’s battery life.

The main issue is said to be caused by the “system clock tick rate”, the feature responsible for waking up the CPU at certain times. Google Chrome is said to trigger the CPU’s ‘tick rate’ more often, drawing more power from the battery and reducing the overall battery life. Google’s browser is said to have a default timing of 1.000 ms, while Firefox and Internet Explorer is set at a Microsoft recommended setting of 15.625 ms.

“In fact, at 1.000ms the processor is waking 1000 times per second. The default, of 15.625ms means the processor wakes just 64 times per second to check on events that need attention. Microsoft itself says that tick rates of 1.000ms might increase power consumption by ‘as much as 25 per cent.'” said Forbes.

While the issue is present on Microsoft-based systems, it is said that the same cannot be said for Linux and Mac users. This is mainly due to the latter operating systems having different ‘tick rates’ compared to Microsoft’s OS. A web browser battery usage test reveals that Internet Explorer is still on top, followed by Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.

Google apparently has no fix for the given issue at the moment, but users are able to go to Google Chrome’s bug report website and flag the issue in order to give it more priority.

Thank you Lifehacker for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Lifehacker

The Latest Figures Show One Internet Browser Dominates Them All: But Which One?

When it comes to browsers there is always a lot of “usually” friendly rivalry between Microsoft, Mozilla and Google as the big three browsers jostle for top spot. However, with Internet Explorer as the default browser in all Microsoft operating systems of late, Microsoft is unsurprisingly still on top. That comes despite the recent antitrust ruling Microsoft faced for not offering Windows users the option to choose their browser upon first use. That ruling forced Microsoft to create a start-up prompt offering Windows users the option to choose between a variety of browsers, instead of relying entirely on Internet Explorer.

Google has 19.34% with its Chrome browser taking second spot and Firefox comes in third with 15.54% for its Firefox browser. Microsoft leads the way with a staggering 58.38% of the browser market as of last month. Microsoft’s IE8 is the most popular followed by IE11, the latest release of Internet Explorer. IE11 ships as the default browser on Windows 8 and 8.1 operating systems and uptake of that has been helped by the recent rise in notebook and desktop sales caused by the end of Windows XP support.

Source: NetMarketShare, Via: Softpedia

Images courtesy of Softpedia/Net Applications

Internet Explorer 9 and 10 Users Exposed To Unpatched Vulnerability

Microsoft revealed yesterday that Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10 both contain an unpatched vulnerability. Computer World reports that these vulnerabilities are mainly being exploited on Internet Explorer 10 by hackers.

The distribution of Internet Explorer versions among users shows that 15.3% use IE9 and 15.9% use IE10 meaning around a third (31.2%) of all IE users are vulnerable.

“Microsoft is aware of limited, targeted attacks against Internet Explorer 10. Our initial investigation has revealed that Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10 are affected.” Said a Microsoft spokesperson.

The solution to the problem, unsurprisingly, is that Microsoft thinks all IE users should upgrade to the latest version which is IE11. Windows Vista users are being “left out in the cold” as the latest version of IE they support is IE9. Microsoft is expected to deliver a fix for the problem on March 11th.

Image courtesy of the Verge

New Version Of Xbox One May Arrive As Early As Next Year

Microsoft will start shipping the Xbox One on November the 22nd. Latest reports from the Taiwan-based supply chain makers via Digi Times suggest that a new version of the Xbox One may be released in the first quarter of 2014.

The estimated shipments of Xbox One started at one million units a month in the third quarter and monthly shipments have been increasing in the fourth quarter. Having a new Xbox One version launch as early as next year may affect the latter and in terms of sales. Even so, users who already pre-ordered the Xbox One do not want to have performance or compatibility issues when it comes to games if there is to be two Xbox One consoles on the market.

Microsoft has recently announced that its Xbox One features Internet Explorer, supporting both HTML5 and CSS3 technologies. The system will also support gesture and voice control. Its competitor, Sony’s PlayStation 4, is priced at $399 in the US, €399 in Europe and £399 in the UK and achieved sales of one million units on the first day of release.

The Xbox One, at an US price of $499 and €499 respectively £499 in Europe and the UK, may be more expensive, but the Taiwanese sources state the Xbox has a strong ecosystem. While no news is available in terms of specs or price, Microsoft is playing a strange game having two versions of the same console available on the market. Maybe more insights on this matter would shed some light on the matter at hand.

Thank you Digi Times for providing us with this information

New Anime Girl Mascot For Internet Explorer

Mozilla has the fox-like character as the logo and icon on their browser, making it the perfect mascot and tag for the internet browser. Whenever people see or hear of fox, they immediately associate it with the browser. It seems that the guys at Redmond thought it was time for a change and unveiled a brand new mascot for Internet Explorer as well, but it’s bot an animal like character, but an anime character.

Her name is Inori Aizawa and she has her own Facebook page. On it, she introduces herself as the artistic representation of Internet Explorer. She also lists Hikaru, Microsoft’s Silverlight mascot, as her cousin and says she’s close friends with Nanami, Windows 7, and Yuu and Ai, Windows 8. Inori tells us that she likes surfing the Internet, HMTL5, karaoke, cats, and mint-flavored ice cream. She has her own email address – inor.aizawa@outlook.com – and is 18 years old, her birthday being the same as the date on which the first version of Internet Explorer was released.

At the end, Inori tells us about her clumsiness and the fact she was “slow”, but has since matured and is confident in her abilities. Her Facebook page can be viewed here.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Inori Aizawa

Microsoft To Deliver 14 Patches Next Week

On September 10th Microsoft will unleash a battery of Microsoft updates for its various products on Windows and Office users. There will be 14 updates delivered, four critical and ten important. All updates may require a restart and 7 are targeted at Microsoft Windows while the other seven are targeted at Microsoft Office. A few of the updates serve dual functions and update Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s .NET Frameworks and Microsoft’s Server Software.

You can find full details of the updates here. Microsoft recommends that all are installed as they are needed to address concerns associated with Remote Code Execution, Elevation of Privilege, Information Disclosure and Denial of Service…..and of course if you’re lucky these updates might help the NSA spy on you more efficiently!

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Internet Explorer 6 Remains Top Internet Browser – 11 Years After Launch

Softpedia reports that Microsoft’s ancient Internet Explorer 6 browser is still the most popular browser in the market 11 years after its launch. The Net Applications statistics show that with 6.08% market share the Microsoft browser is the single most popular browser. In fact it is more popular than Chrome 29 (3.53 percent), Safari 6 (3.45 percent) and Opera 12 (1.25 percent).

The reason there is still such a high uptake of IE6 is that it is Windows XP’s default browser. As we discovered in a previous story many people are refusing to leave Windows XP behind because they have coded custom programs and software which rely on IE6. Of course Microsoft is trying to shift people away from IE6 because it is old and vulnerable and means web developers have to spend more time coding for its ancient architecture.

The IE6Countdown.com website keeps track of the demise of IE6. Microsoft is of course trying to encourage users to upgrade to the newest supported version of Internet Explorer which will vary by OS.

Image courtesy of Net Applications

NSA Saga Is Boosting Business Of Small Internet Browser Companies

StatCounter’s latest figures reveal that “non top-5” browsers are growing in popularity. Currently the top 5 web browsers in order of market share according to StatCounter are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera while the “other category” incorporates everything else. In May “other browsers” accounted for around 2.18% of the browser market but today they now account for 2.69% with an estimated 2.84% for September. At 2.69% that means a 23% increase in the number of people using a non-top-5 browser since May and at 2.84% that would be a 30% increase since May. If you also consider the number of internet users grows every month that means so far this year the number of small browser users has been growing exponentially.

Some of the “other” browser solutions that are popular and regularly updated include Maxthon, Avant, Dooble, Lunascape, SeaMonkey and many more. Of course many smaller browsers are in fact based on the infrastructure of bigger browsers but that hasn’t stopped people moving elsewhere in disgust against the cooperation of big browser companies in the NSA scandal.

Image courtesy of Downloads Junction

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Bug Bounty Claimed By Google Employee!

Microsoft and other big browser companies often give out “bug bounties” for people who can discover exploits in their software. Microsoft offered up a rather large bug bounty for Internet Explorer 11 and is offering up to $11,000 for every security flaw people can find in the browser.

Katie Moussouris, Senior Security Strategist at Microsoft said:

“The security community has responded enthusiastically to our new bounty programs, submitting over a dozen issues for us to investigate in just the first two weeks since the programs opened.  I personally notified the very first bounty recipient via email today that his submission for the Internet Explorer 11 Preview Bug Bounty is confirmed and validated. (Translation: He’s getting paid.)”

One of the winners of a bounty was Google information security engineer Ivan Fratric who bagged a healthy serving of the Internet Explorer 11 bounty. He previously won $50,000 back in 2012 in Microsoft’s BlueHat contest.

“We have other researchers who have qualified for bounties under the IE11 program as well, and their notifications will be coming from secure [at] Microsoft [dot] com this week and beyond. We plan to add an acknowledgement page on our bounty web site, listing the researchers who would like to be publicly recognized for their contributions to helping us make our products more secure, so look for that page to appear linked from www.microsoft.com/bountyprograms in the near future.”

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11 bug bounty window ends on July 26th.

Image courtesy of the Verge

Windows 8.1 Build 9431 Revealed, Has Start Button

The Windows 8.1 preview is expected to be announced tomorrow and with it we are expecting a host of new features and a significant overhaul of some Windows 8 features. There have been some images made available by PCBeta and they detail the latest build, number 9431, of Windows 8.1.

Unlike previously seen builds these certainly look a lot more polished but one thing will stand out the most, which is the (re)appearance of the start button. The start button has been redesigned slightly, in terms of the logo, but it is still where we would expect to find it especially if you are coming from Windows 7.

The preview also provides access to the latest version of Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer 11, which is yet to be released and may now be released alongside the Windows 8.1 preview tomorrow.

Unfortunately you cannot download the Windows 8.1 preview just yet but we can expect it to become available in the next day or so and then everyone can check the new/redesigned features out for themselves.

Images courtesy of PCBeta

Internet Explorer Remains World’s Number One Browser

Internet explorer isn’t exactly loved by our readers. When you tend to become a bit of a PC enthusiast or tech geek you will almost religiously avoid Internet Explorer at all costs, opting for Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Yet according to the latest usage statistics by Net Applications Internet Explorer is still largely dominant in the browser market.

Internet explorer 8 is leading the pack with an impressive 22.99% while other Internet Explorer versions such as 9, 6 and 10 all still hold significant market shares. The above graph can be slightly misleading because smaller versions of browsers have been aggregated into the “other” category. The overall figures are as follows:

  • Internet Explorer – 55.99%
  • Mozilla Firefox – 20.63%
  • Google Chrome – 15.74%
  • Safari – 5.46%
  • Opera – 1.77%
  • Other – 0.41%

What is interesting is that if you look at the trends for the past 9 months on Net Applications then you can see that Internet Explorer has been gaining a fair bit of ground (about 2%), Firefox has also gained some ground (0.5%) and so too has Safari (around 0.5%) while Google’s Chrome browser has taken a big hit losing nearly 3% of market share. With a new version of Internet Explorer expected to arrive with Windows 8.1, expect Microsoft’s IE popularity to increase further as it comes pre-installed on the Windows 8.1 OS.

What are your thoughts on these figures? Which browser do you use?

Image courtesy of Net Applications