A way to cut down on adware and spyware

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Use FireFox

One major interface difference is Firefox's tabbed browsing feature, which lets you open several Web pages within a single browser window. Quickly move among pages by clicking the tabs at the top of the window. Compare that to IE, in which you must open several instances of the Microsoft browser, each requiring system resources. So viewing multiple Internet pages in IE can tax your computer, while tabbing through multiple pages within Firefox will not. Tabbed browsing is also available in the Apple Safari and Opera browsers, but not in Internet Explorer.

Once you subscribe, you can read RSS-based headlines directly from your bookmarks.

Another nice feature is a built-in RSS reader. In other words, Firefox delivers automated updates of news or blog content from sites that you subscribe to in advance. Internet Explorer offers no such beast. Mozilla calls these RSS feeds Live Bookmarks because the content is dynamic. With Live Bookmarks in place, we were able to read the latest headlines from sites such as News.com, Slate.com, and Slashdot.org. There are third-party RSS readers that work with IE 6.0, but it's nice to have this functionality built into your browser.

Firefox is more secure than Internet Explorer, in part because most criminal hackers look for holes in the industry leader--that's just efficient business. But there are also several structural differences that make Firefox an inherently more secure browser. First, Firefox doesn't support VBScript and ActiveX Controls, which are often the source of attacks and vulnerabilities within IE. Unfortunately, the lack of ActiveX support also affects the performance of some Web sites. For example, the pop-up menu at Slate.com, a Microsoft site, didn't work within Firefox, but we were still able to navigate the site. Also, while Outlook Web Access did work, some of its features were missing or rendered differently. But at most sites, Firefox worked just as well as IE 6.0.

Another difference from Internet Explorer is in how Firefox handles secure Web sites, such as e-commerce or online banking sites. When visiting a secure site, Firefox highlights the address bar's URL in yellow and shows the Lock icon. If you click the Lock icon, you can review the site's security information and decide whether to continue. The domain name of the site you are visiting is also listed in the right-hand corner of secure windows, so you know the true source of every page. A criminal hacker might be able to spoof the location bar address, but he or she won't be able to spoof this secondary address display. Given all this security, we were still able to log on to secure financial sites, including Citibank.com and Fidelity.com, without any problems.

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