Clarify Technical Services - Tip #1
Safer web browsing with Mozilla Firefox
Applies to: Microsoft Windows, All current versions.
Last updated: Monday May 23, 2005
Everyone is greatly concerned with the proliferation of adware, and spyware on the internet these days. The problem has seen a substantial increase lately thanks to some new tricks learned by the programmers and webmasters responsible for the distribution of these programs. Microsoft Internet Explorer is a very powerful program that is deeply rooted in the operating system itself. It has the capability of running active X controls as well as active scripting. It is especially these active X controls that pose the danger. It is this feature that allows Windows Update to scan your pc to see what security patches and updates you system needs, and then let you download them and have them install themselves without your help. It also allows some sites to be able to do an online virus or trojan scan of your pc and recommend solutions to their findings. This works well in the hands of the good guys but the bad guys use these same abilities to install their own software onto your pc without your help.
Here is where Mozilla Firefox comes in. The Mozilla group are the ones who developed Netscape which was bought by AOL. The group have continued their open source development and released Mozilla v1.0 which includes the Firefox browser, as well as the Thunderbird email client. What makes Firefox different from I.E. is simply the it does not support active X controls or active scripting. This makes it a very safe browser to use for your everyday internet requirements. The only time you will have a problem is when you go to a page (like windows update) that requires Active-X controls. Then you can simply launch I.E. and use it for that website and then go back to Firefox when finished.
Firefox also includes some nice features such as tabbed browsing and a built in popup blocker as well as a google quick search.
Operating SystemsWindows 98
Windows NT 4.0
Windows XP (Recommended)
Windows Server 2003
Pentium 233 MHz (Recommended: Pentium 500MHz or greater)
64 MB RAM (Recommended: 128 MB RAM or greater)
52 MB hard drive space
- The first thing to do is to download the latest version of Firefox by going to http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/. Look for the "Free Download" link on the right side of the page. and click on it. Click on "Save" in the file download dialogue box and save the file to your desktop. It is only a 4.7meg file so it's not too big.
- Close all programs and open windows. and double click on the file you just saved on the desktop.
- Follow the simple instructions to install Firefox.
- Answer "Yes" when it asks to import favorites, history, and cookies.
- Answer "Yes" when it asks whether or not to make Firefox your default browser.
- You will now have a new icon on your desktop that looks like this.