If you’re going to announce that your new browser is the safest on the market, you’d best be damned sure you’re right. It seems Microsoft releasing Internet Explorer 8 out of open beta yesterday was a red flag to a bull (or a challenge to a hacker), because within 24 hours a new exploit has been found in the browser.
The feat occurred at the annual CanSecWest security conference, which hosted its PWN2OWN hacking contest, where the exploit was found. A German hacker going by the name of Nils found it and claims a prize of $5000 in cash and a Sony Vaio laptop as a prize.
It’s only fair to mention that the same hacker managed to claim an additional $10,000 for successfully hacking Safari and Firefox. There’s still two days left for more browsers to succumb to the hacker’s codey wiles – perhaps Chrome and Opera will let their guard slip as well.
Although we happily use a combination of Chrome and Firefox in the office, a new version of Internet Explorer is still big news. Of course, it’s been in open beta for the last year so none of its new improvements and features are big breaking news – especially as most of these changes will be old news to anyone who has been used Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari in the last few months. That said, if you’re in an office where Internet Explorer is the only authorised browser, then there’s quite a lot to be excited about. Well, maybe not “excited about”, but it should make your day slightly more enjoyable at least.
So, what kind of features are in Internet Explorer 8? Well there’s a lot under the bonnet to begin with – better security and malware protection mainly. External sources have estimated that IE8 catches two to four times as many malware attacks as other browsers, which is a really impressive step forward for a browser that has always been seen as vulnerable. Another, more tangibly testable, feature is Microsoft’s claim that the new Internet Explorer is the fastest browser on the market. Of course there are two caveats to that – firstly that we’re talking the difference of a fraction of a second, and secondly that with all the major players working on new versions of their browser this lead may well be short lived.