Will Internet Explorer 9 be any safer?

Microsoft has opened the curtains on a prototype of the next generation of Internet Explorer, but will be any safer than earlier editions?

You can download the next generation of Internet Explorer 9, but I really don't recommend it unless you're an expert at both Windows and Web browsers. I qualify on both those grounds -- What? You think I only work on Linux? -- So I took a quick peek at this so not-ready for prime time Web browser.

I can tell you that it works on Windows 7 and Vista and that it does an OK job at rendering Web pages. But, as far as the rest goes, I really can't say much. As Dean Hachamovich, Microsoft's IE team's general manager indicated the IE 9 Platform Preview isn't even finished, never-mind polished.

But, we also know what Microsoft intends for IE 9 and that tells us something. Unfortunately, it doesn't say a lot for any Internet Explorer security improvements. First, Microsoft says that IE 9 will not be available on Windows XP. That's because, to quote a Microsoft public relations representative, "Internet Explorer 9 requires the modern graphics and security underpinnings that have come since 2001, and is intended to be run on a modern operating system in order to build on the latest hardware and operating system innovations."

Oh yeah like Vista or Windows 7 have proven to be any more secure than earlier versions of Windows. Internet Explorer certainly has its share of security problems, but its operating system has never helped any. Windows was, is now, and forever will be, flawed by design when it comes to security.

While Microsoft seems focused on some good things, like improving IE's speed and finally making it more compatible with the forthcoming HTML 5 standard, I didn't see a lot about improving the program's own built-in security. Indeed, this early test-drive model doesn't even include IE 8's SmartScreen anti-malware filter and private-browsing function.

No, while I have no doubt that IE 9 will be faster and more standard compatible than its predecessors when it comes to safety I don't see any real improvements on their way. Security continues not to be job one for Microsoft.

Want a Web browser that's already faster and safer than IE? I suggest you move on to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. They're already here and they're already better than the current versions of IE.

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