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Windows 7: Is Internet Explorer a potential threat to system?

22 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
Is Internet Explorer a potential threat to system?

Recently I got to know from two fairly computer savvy people that not only is Internet Explorer full of defects, but it also is a path in which viruses can enter our system without our knowledge. Having known this I retained Chrome as my default browser. How can a virus attack our system through IE? Is it because IE is weaker than other web browsers?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #2
Sub Styler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

It's not really "weaker" but because it is still the most commonly used browser it is the most targeted and a lot of virus code is written specifically for it.

Other browsers are vulnerable too but are less frequently exploited.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit

Thanks! Do you know how I can get a virus via IE9?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Nov 2011   #4
Sub Styler

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I do not know the techniques used to get browsers to download and execute viri without user intervention.

They could install themselves as add-on or plug in.

They could load code from the page into your temp and then execute it or inject into your memory using, javascript or another web language.

Another possibility that user may download and install the virus from an .exe file. This will not matter which browser you use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Internet Explorer has ActiveX which has been a huge security risk over the years.
ActiveX control is a control using Microsoft ActiveX technologies. An ActiveX control can be automatically downloaded and executed by a Web browser. ActiveX is not a programming language, but rather a set of rules for how applications should share information.

Programmers can develop ActiveX controls in a variety of languages, including C, C++, Visual Basic, and Java.

An ActiveX control is similar to a Java applet. Unlike Java applets, however, ActiveX controls have full access to the Windows operating system. This gives them much more power than Java applets, but with this power comes a certain risk that the applet may damage software or data on your machine. To control this risk, Microsoft developed a registration system so that browsers can identify and authenticate an ActiveX control before downloading it. Another difference between Java applets and ActiveX controls is that Java applets can be written to run on all platforms, whereas ActiveX controls are currently limited to Windows environments.
IE 9 has much better security than IE 8 & should be safe to use.
Security in Internet Explorer 9 | Safe Web Browsing | Windows IE 9
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

I've been using IE9 since it was launched and have experienced no virus issues.

As ever, the sites you use and software you download is the arbiter when virus infections occur rather than the browser.

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes are doing a good job of keeping my computer virus-free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit

Thanks man
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #8

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate

You have to lock down /any/ browser if you really want to stay safe from virii as well as malicious website shenanigans.

This means turning off activeX (in IE) and java and javascript (in any browser) for the "internet zone" or "by default".

Then add sites you do visit and trust to the trusted sites in IE or individually turn on javascript etc for individual sites in other browsers.

THEN you will be quite safe.

Using this simple (though admitedly /slightly/ annoying) tactic has kept me 100% virus free on IE since IE4.0. Including through all the IE virus hell around the 6.0 days.

Well that and of course not just downloading and running every EXE on the net I ran across, not DLing and using pirated software or programs from other shadey sources, not letting anyone else use my computer without supervision etc...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit

Thanks for the adcie fseal!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Is Internet Explorer a potential threat to system?

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