Category Archives: internet explorer 8

Free Qualys BrowserCheck – Spot Plug-in Security Flaws In Your Browser

image Yesterday, I wrote on the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), and I mentioned in the article, that each week I receive the Qualys Vulnerability Report from Qualys, a security industry leader in vulnerability assessment, and vulnerability management.

Although Qualys is a major player in the enterprise market, at the personal consumer level, most users will not be familiar with this company. I found it interesting then, that Qualys recently released a free consumer level security tool, BrowserCheck, which will check your web browser for selected security holes in both the browser, and browser plug-ins. Not add-ons, but plug-ins.

Take a look at what Qualys CEO, Philippe Courtot has to say on Browser plug-ins, and security –

Almost 100 percent of all browsers we have surveyed have plug-ins installed that enable the user to play music, watch video, visualize PDF files and play games.

Frequently these plug-ins are overlooked by the users and are not updated, representing a significant security exposure – both for end-users and corporate clients.

I must admit, I find nothing to disagree with in that statement.

BrowserCheck is itself a plug-ins, and like most plug-ins, it’s very easy to install. Simply visit the Qualys site; install the plug-in, and you’re all set.

My first test run was on Internet Explorer 8, as the following screen captures show.



As the scan results indicate – my Internet Explorer 8 is in good shape.


With Firefox running, the results looked like this. It seems I’ve been bad, and not kept my Firefox updated. There’s good reason for this – FF 3.6.6 is slower than molasses (at least on my test machine), and I choose to roll back to FF 3.6.4



Nevertheless, to complete the test, I clicked on the  “Fix it” button which immediately took me to the Firefox update site, so that I could download the latest version of Firefox.


Fast facts: The following items are detected:

Windows OS support expiration

Browser version (IE 6.0+, Firefox 3.0+, Chrome 4.0+)

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Reader 5.x and above

Adobe Shockwave Player

Apple Quicktime

BEA JRockit

Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Windows Media Player

Real Player

Sun Java

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) plug-in for Mozilla browsers

As an added security measure, take BrowserCheck for a test drive. According to available information, all major Windows web browsers are supported.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Browser Plug-ins, Browsers, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox, Freeware, internet explorer 8, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Windows Tips and Tools

Don’t Open a Can of Worms! – Get the New Improved WOT

Regular readers of this site are well aware that for the last year or more, I have written extensively about WOT, Web of Trust.

What is WOT?

Can of worms WOT is a free Internet Browser resource that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET, and has become one of the most downloaded FireFox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, with over 4 million users.

If you are an Internet Explorer 8 user (and this is the only release of Internet Explorer you should be using), you’ll be happy to learn WOT is now available for this latest IE release.

According to Matt Crowley, Program Manager, Internet Explorer Extensibility, “WOT is a great example of how add-ons can extend the user experience, functionality, and security of a web browser. This represents the type of quality and usefulness we’re aiming to showcase on”

Web of Trust offers Internet users preventive protection against Web-based attacks, online scams, identify theft, and unreliable shopping sites. The WOT security add-on provides safety ratings to search results when using Google, Yahoo!, Digg and other popular sites, helping users protect their computers and personal information.

WOT operates in a unique fashion in order to offer this active protection to the Internet user community. It stands out from the crowd of similar applications, by soliciting the opinions of users/members whose views on web site safety are incorporated into the overall site safety rating. According to WOT, the user community now has reputation data on over 20 million sites worldwide.

The shared information on a site’s reputation includes trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. As well, in order to achieve maximum security coverage, WOT uses thousands of trusted sources including phishing site listings, to keep users protected against rapidly spreading threats.

How WOT works

The Browser add-on icon, displays a color rating for each site you visit, indicating whether a site is safe to use, should be used with caution, or avoided entirely. Using traffic light colors, (green, yellow, and red), WOT leaves you in no doubt as to the safety rating of a web site. An impressive feature of WOT is the dropdown transparent warning curtain, shown earlier, triggered on visiting a dangerous site.

WOT new

Recognizing that up to ten percent of Internet users are at a disadvantage however, due to colorblindness, and cannot rely on an Internet safety system based on color coding, the Web of Trust development team recently released an adaptive version of WOT. This version incorporates equivalent alternative information, through assistive or adaptive technology, for colorblind users.

This colorblind accessible application provides the same critical benefits to those individuals who have to contend with visual impairments, as it has to those of us who have come to rely on WOT as a major defense against the pervasive hazards we encounter on the Internet.

WOT integrates seamlessly with search engine results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and other popular sites, and provides impressive protection against Internet predators.

WOT recently added the top three web-based email services – Google Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, to its free security protection. You can now feel more confident and secure since WOT checks links embedded in your email, and warns you of dangerous web sites so that you can avoid spyware, spam, phishing, identity theft and other Internet scams; before you click on dangerous embedded links.

Quick facts – WOT checks the following on each web site visited:


Vendor reliability


Child Safety

Ratings for over 20 million websites

Downloaded 4,000,000 times +

The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically

WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.

Settings can be customized to better protect your family

WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Works with Internet Explorer and FireFox

Interface supports English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese.

WOT now has customizable protection:

WOT provides four convenient one-click protection options that can be changed instantly depending on the situation.

Fast facts:

Light protection suits experienced Web users

Basic protection guides the user by giving warnings

Maximum Safety stops dangerous Web sites from loading

Parental Control blocks access to Web sites with a poor child safety rating and no rating at all

Surf more securely by installing this browser add-on which will provide you with an in-depth site analysis based on real world results. Keep in mind however, that you are your own best protection. Stop · Think · Click

Download at: MyWot

Watch a demo video showing how WOT works in practice.


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, Child Safety Internet, Don't Get Hacked, Email, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google, Interconnectivity, internet explorer 8, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Microsoft Releases Internet Explorer 8 Today

internet-explorer-8 I know one shouldn’t run a Beta in a production environment, but despite this old truism, I have been running Windows 7 as my main, at home OS, for several months. I’m not unusual in this; virtually all of my tech associates have been doing the same thing.

Since Internet Explorer 8 (beta), is the onboard Internet browser packaged with Win 7, I have had ample opportunity to run IE 8 and put it through its paces.

Quick verdict:

In my view, this offering from Microsoft will not close the gap with FireFox. It’s still slow, and cumbersome; Microsoft at its best. There’s just not enough here to convince me to change from FireFox 3.

Internet Explorer 7 has had its fair share of problems, so it is advisable that you update to IE 8 if you are an IE 7 user.

IE 8 Personal

Quick facts: (From Microsoft)

  • Accelerators – Accelerators let you map directions, translate words, email your friends, and more in just a few mouse clicks.
  • InPrivate Browsing – Browse the web without saving your history with Internet Explorer 8’s InPrivate Browsing.
  • Web Slices – Keep up with changes to the sites you care about most. Add a Web Slice and you won’t have to go back to the same website again and again for updates on news, stock quotes, online auctions, weather, or even sports scores.
  • Search suggestions – Search smarter with detailed suggestions from your favorite search providers and browsing history. See visual previews and get suggested content topics while you type in the enhanced Instant Search Box.
  • SmartScreen Filter – New security features help to protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy and identity.
  • Redesigned New Tab page – The New Tab page loads quickly and provided links make it easier to get started on your next browsing activity:
  • Reopen closed tabs – Reopen a tab that you’ve closed in your current browsing session, which can be helpful when a tab is accidentally or prematurely closed.
  • Reopen your last browsing session – Reopen all tabs that were open when Internet Explorer 8 was last closed, which can be useful if you accidentally close the browser.
  • Improved Zoom – Adaptive Page Zoom improves upon traditional zoom-in/zoom-out functionality in the browser by intelligently relaying out the page content and eliminating the need to scroll left and right.
  • A better back button – When using rich applications such as mapping on the Internet, you may be taken to the beginning of the application instead of the previous page when you hit the back button. Now when you hit the back button, more pages will behave the way you expect.

Download at: Microsoft


Filed under Browsers, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer, internet explorer 8, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools