Internet Explorer (IE) is no less secure than any other browser and does not lack any important features, according to Microsoft. But the managing director of Cisco admitted that he wouldn’t use IE without additional protection.
At a security round-table discussion in Sydney on Thursday, Microsoft's security and management product manager, Ben English, told attendees that IE undergoes "rigorous code reviews" and is no less secure than any other browser.
"Because IE is ubiquitous you hear a lot more about it, but I don't think that Internet Explorer is any less secure than any other browser out there," said English.
However, Ross Fowler, managing director of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, said the network giant uses IE internally but only after deploying its Secure Agent, which is a desktop utility that monitors all activity and alerts the user if it spots something unusual -- such as a keystroke logging program.
"Internally we have deployed Cisco Secure Agent to prevent those day-zero attacks and we have more and more of our customers -- particularly in the University sector -- deploying the Cisco secure agent,” said Fowler.
No threat from Firefox
Microsoft Australia's managing director, Steve Vamos, said that he did not believe IE's market share was under threat after the recent high profile launch of Mozilla's Firefox browser.
"I’m not sure that that is the reality. I have seen comments around that but there is nothing I can refer to that really supports that," he said. Instead, Vamos added, users needed educating about all the features already offered by Microsoft’s browser.
"We probably need to do a bit of work to communicate the features that are in IE," he said.
Vamos, who admitted he has never used Firefox, said there is a lot of hype surrounding the open source movement and if Microsoft's customers wanted new features they would have told the company about it.
"I don’t agree is that just because a (competing) product has a feature that we don’t have, that feature is important. It is not. It is only important if it is a feature the customer wants. There are plenty of products out there with features we don’t have. We have plenty of features that our customers don’t use.
"If there are features in our products that are sub-par or need to be added then I have great confidence that we are an organisation that responds pretty quickly and effectively to that," said Vamos.
Microsoft's English reiterated that features such as tabbed browsing were not important to IE users.
"I don't believe it is a true statement that IE doesn’t have the features that our customers want. We take user feedback very seriously. If you have that feedback then you should feed it back to us because we will feed it to the product team," said English.