Why Internet Explorer is a Security Risk and How to Replace It with a New Browser

In 2016, Microsoft stopped supporting most versions of Internet Explorer.  Since then, they have stopped pushing updates and patch deployments. In last week’s blog, How to Clear Your Browser Cache and Data, OTELCO touched on this fact and encouraged our readers to stop using the aged browser. This week, we will discuss why and how you should switch from Internet Explorer to a new browser.

Why you should stop using Internet Explorer

Continuing to use Internet Explorer (IE) poses two substantial problems for consumers. The first and most significant is security. OTELCO IT Director, Mark Vanderwood explains below:

“Internet Explorer has run its course as Microsoft sunsets the product. It should only be used as a compatibility product for legacy corporate intranet sites that have not been updated. It is also expected that, within the next year, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer with Microsoft 365 online products. As years of backward compatibility have created security holes that are difficult to plug, end-users should adopt another browser as their standard, and enterprises should block IE’s use.”

An example of the security holes Mark mentioned happened in 2019 when Microsoft issued a warning to IE users that a vulnerability in the way the bowser’s code handled memory was being exploited to give hackers access to a user’s private accounts. To further the insecurities of Internet Explorer, a user doesn’t even have to open the browser to compromise their data. According to industry experts, just having the browser on your computer leaves a backdoor open to cybercriminals looking to compromise your data.

The second reason you should ditch IE is that most websites are no longer optimized for the browser, including otelco.com. Admittedly, Internet Explorer has always been a problem for web designers. The way the browser interprets code is different from its competitors. It often results in incorrect rendering of any given page. Many websites have stopped supporting even the latest version of the browser, Internet Explorer 11, now that it is common knowledge that IE is unsafe for everyday consumer use. This includes sites as big as Facebook.

What You Should Use Instead of Internet Explorer

What browser you use is a personal decision, like choosing a brand of coffee or a favorite news source. Each browser comes with its own pros and cons, which we will dive into in a later blog. Today, we will briefly lay out some options and let you know where you can download each browser.

These are the four most popular browsers amongst PC users:

  • Google Chrome: Chrome is literally the most popular browser in the U.S. It is easy to use and very customizable.  Best for anyone with a Gmail account. Download here.
  • Firefox: Firefox is widely considered the most secure browser. It has been beloved by Mac and PC users for many years. Best for cyber-security enthusiasts. Download here.
  • Microsoft Edge: Microsoft Edge is the tech giant’s replacement for IE. It is powered by the same technology as Chrome, and arguably just as easy to use. Best for PC lovers. Download here.
  • Opera: Opera is still quite a popular browser. Its loyal fan base appreciates the browser for its slick look and innovation. Best for someone looking for a unique browsing experience. Download here.

How to Import Your Bookmarks from Internet Explorer to a New Browser

Finally, here is advice on how to import your Internet Explorer bookmarks, or favorites, into your new browser.  Sometimes, a modern browser will do this automatically, but just in case it doesn’t, we have you covered. Use the quick links to skip to your preferred browser.

Google Chrome

  1. Download and open Chrome
  2. Open the “More” menu at the top right-hand corner of Chrome
  3. In the drop-down menu, select “Bookmarks” and then click “Import Bookmarks and Settings.”
  4. Select “Internet Explorer” from the browser drop-down menu
  5. Make sure “Favorites/Bookmarks” is checked
  6. Click Import
How to replace Internet Explorer with Google Chrome.

Firefox

  1. Download and open Firefox
  2. Click the “Library” button on the upper right hand of your Firefox toolbar
  3. In the drop-down menu, select “Bookmarks” and then click the “Show All Bookmarks” bar at the bottom of the menu
  4. In the library menu that pops up, select “Import and Backup” from the top toolbar, and choose “Import Data from Another Browser.”
  5. In the “Import Wizard” window that opens next, select “Microsoft Internet Explorer? And click “Next.”
  6. From the “Items to Import” options, select “Favorites” and any of the other options you want to import
  7. When you have everything selected, click “Finish.”
  8. With Firefox, your Internet Explorer bookmarks will appear in a folder under your “Bookmarks” menu called “From Internet Explorer.”How to replace Internet Explorer with Firefox

Microsoft Edge

  1. Download and open Microsoft Edge
  2. Open the “Settings and More” menu from the upper right-hand corner of your toolbar
  3. Select “Favorites” and then “Import” from the drop-down menu
  4. Under “Import From” select Microsoft Internet Explorer
  5. Under “Chose What to Import,” make sure “Favorites or Bookmarks” is selected and then check anything else you might want to import
  6. When you have selected everything you want, click “Import.”
How to replace Internet Explorer with Microsoft Edge

Opera

  1. Download and Open Opera
  2. Click the Opera button on the top left-hand corner of your Opera browser
  3. Select “Bookmarks” and then “Import bookmarks and settings…”
  4. Select “Internet Explorer” from the browser drop-down menu
  5. Make sure “Favorites/Bookmarks” and anything else you want to import have been checked
  6. Click Import
How to replace Internet Explorer with Opera

Keep Your Network Secure

Don’t stop at removing Internet Explorer. Make sure your entire home network is secure with our six easy steps!

Keep Your Home Network Secure