IE 8: Its Security Is Worth the Download

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 in March, and whether to install it is likely your biggest up­­date decision right now.

The browser has plenty of new security features, such as expanded phishing-site blocking of known malware distributors. IE 8 also highlights the domain name in the URLs you visit, making it easier to recognize a phishing scam.

New as well are a private browsing mode (called InPrivate Browsing) and behind-the-scenes tuning to help neutralize attack code on poisoned Web sites. Read more on IE 8's enhanced security.

Of course, downloading IE 8 isn't a silver bullet, but from a security standpoint the upgrade is a no-brainer. However, the new browser may not display all sites correctly-even in its compatibility (with IE 7) mode. If IE 8 can't handle a site you need to view, you can uninstall it (via Add or Remove Programs) and revert to the earlier browser.

Firefox, Opera Fixes

Firefox 3.0.8 closes two security holes that could allow an attacker to use a poisoned Web site to take over a PC. Make sure you have the latest security plugs by clicking Help, Check for Updates, or by visiting, and get more info on the flaws.

The new Opera 9.64 fixes a number of problems, including one critical hole that viewing a specially crafted JPEG image could open. Another fix closes a risk of browser plug-ins launching data-stealing cross-domain-scripting attacks. See the full list of changes. Click Help, Check for Updates to make sure you have the latest Opera version; if you don't, you must download and manually install the new version--an annoyance, but a worthwhile one.

Microsoft has fixed a similar flaw in Windows. Viewing a malicious Windows Metafile (WMF) or En­­hanced Metafile (EMF) image on a Web site or in an HTML e-mail could have let a bad guy run any command on a PC--a critical risk for Windows Vista, XP, 2000, Server 2003, and Server 2008. Get the fix via Automatic Up­­dates or download it.

Adobe, Too

Crooks have actively targeted a hole in Adobe Reader and Acrobat that victims can trigger by opening a malicious .pdf file distributed as an e-mail attachment.

Reader 9.1 and Acrobat 9.1 fix the hole; updates for the Windows, Macintosh, and Unix versions of the software are available. Adobe also released updates for those stuck with older versions of the software-Acrobat and Reader version 8.1.4 and 7.1.1 contain the fix. Click the usual Help, Check for Updates, or download from Adobe.

Foxit Reader, an alternative program for handling .pdf files, has its own vulnerabilities to malicious files. Version 3 users can pick up the patched Build 1506, and those on version 2.3 can get Build 3902, by clicking Help, Check for Updates Now, or by clicking here for the download.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet Explorerie8

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Erik Larkin

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?