In my last post I stated something about how I wouldn't be comfortable using another browser. This seemed to get a few responses and Shannon J Hager asked me to explain myself. So I will try. One of the challenges with blogging or any communication purely through text is that it is easy to be misunderstood and have something taken out of context as it is difficult to convey any additional tone to your conversation.
I've worked on the IE team for a month now. It's been a challenging month as we finish up Windows XP SP2 and have also been dealing with some immediate security issues. I've been highly impressed with how the team treats these security issues and how deeply they think through all the implications and variations to ensure that the correct fix is put out and thoroughly tested. For that reason I feel extremely comfortable using Internet Explorer as my primary browser.Security is a huge issue for the entire software industry. Browsers are an obvious focus of attack as they are a primary means by which one has access to the big bad world. As a result Internet Explorer is probably attacked more than any piece of software on the planet. However any software developer no matter what software they are developing should be thinking about security. There is an excellent book called Writing Secure Code from MSPress that we use at Microsoft and I strongly recommend. If you are a developer of any kind you should be thinking constantly about how secure your code is. I include in that Web developers, Windows developers and even Linux developers, you owe it to yourself and your customers to be thinking seriously about security and how you might be unintentionally exposing data and functionality. Just because the bad guys have not targetted you yet does not mean that they won't target you at some point in the future.
The work we are have undertaken in Windows XP SP2 is a great step forward here and the fact that recent issues are mitigated by these improvements shows we are taking the correct steps.
The reason I would not be comfortable doing my banking and shopping with another browser is from my knowledge of the quality of work undertaken on the Internet Explorer team. I know some of you will probably disagree with that view but I stand by the fact that the Internet Explorer team takes security extroardinarily seriously.
How we focus on security might make a great topic to drill into further in the future on the team blog. However I'm off for a few days next week for a short vacation up in the islands near Seattle.
Remember that whatever browser you use there are bad guys out there who might want to steal your personal data. Be careful to check that the site you are giving your password and credit card information to is really who they say they are. I regularly shop on the internet but always check that I am on the correct website and not some spoof site that I shouldn't trust.