Program Manager: IE Not Less Secure

Internet Explorer product manager Dave Massy has refuted claims made by Mozilla Foundation president Mitchell Baker that Firefox is, and always will be, more secure than IE. Massy attacks Baker's claims that IE is inherently vulnerable due to its direct integration with Windows.

Baker's remarks came during a speech at the PC Forum conference in Arizona. She explained that "not being in the operating system is a phenomenal advantage for us," and rejected claims that IE is only more vulnerable because it has more users.

"There is this idea that market share alone will make you have more vulnerabilities," Baker said. "It is not relational at all."

In a posting to his Web log, Microsoft's Massy noted that IE's ties with Windows are frequently misunderstood and that IE is part of the Windows only so other applications can take advantage of its functionality.

"The security of any browser is irrelevant to if it is part of the operating system," Massy said. "If we are to debate security of browsers then let's bring in relevant arguments and accurate details about different possible attacks rather than rely on the irrational fear that because IE is part of the operating system it must be exposing OS functionality to the web."

With the recent success of Firefox, security has taken center stage as Mozilla touts its Web browser as a "more secure" alternative to Internet Explorer. Microsoft has outwardly dismissed the threat of Firefox encroaching on its market dominance, but concern at Redmond is apparent.

Microsoft recently announced it would launch a new, independent version of Internet Explorer before the next release of Windows after pressure from customers, backtracking on a long-standing decision.

IE developers such as Massy have also found themselves having to defend their work in the face of negative media coverage. "As we develop IE we go through very thorough and stringent security reviews to ensure that every change is secure and does not expose the user to attack," Massy reassured his readers.

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