Seriously people: Maybe it’s time you switched to Mac or Linux

Microsoft sucks.

hackedimage

How many times have we heard people say that? Well, they’re saying it again even louder now after a major security flaw has been announced in the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser.

Is this deja vu or just a bad nightmare?

Seriously, how many of these security breaches have we had from Microsoft?

This time, no less than The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has advised computer users to abandon Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser until the company fixes a security flaw that hackers have used to launch attacks. So has the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team and its UK counterpart, suggesting that some IE users may want to “consider employing an alternate browser” untill the flaw is patched.

That is unprecedented in my memory.

They’re all saying Microsoft sucks.

hackedimageThis vulnerability – called the “zero-day exploit” – affects all versions of the browser and allows attackers to install malware on your computer without your permission. That malware could be used to steal personal data, track online behavior, or gain control of the computer.

Users of newer versions of Windows can probably expect a security patch soon. But the million who still have Windows XP – which Microsoft no longer supports – will get no such fix. They are out of luck. There are millions and millions of them out there.

 

All I can say to you Windows users is if you insist on using anything from Microsoft,  switch your browser to Firefox or Chrome. Do not use IE anymore, now or in the future. How many times will you keep thinking they have it fixed only to hear one of these warnings?

But I have better advice: Dump your PC and get a Mac. Then all these worms and virus scare and the Microsoft vulnerabilities are a thing of the past. You could try Linux, too. It’s secure. But Linux is never going to me more than a platform around which angry geeks and nerds gather to trash talk every other operating system. Yeah, Linux works. But who cares?

It’s really either a Windows world or a Mac world. It’s you choice which OS you choose.

If you are already a Mac user, this latest mess isn’t really an issue for you unless you are running Internet Explorer in a virtual environment through Parallels, or running Windows natively on their computer via Apple’s Boot Camp. Your Mac files and data will remain safe, but the files and days on the windows portion of your hard drive is vulnerable to attacks.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Yan

    I agreed with you until you trashed linux. Hmm… Why? There’s a lot of us who use Linux in all its various flavors, and not all of us are “angry geeks”. Android is mostly linux, so is every android phone user an “angry geek” now? Most wifi access points run linux of one flavor or another. Your GPS runs linux. Heck, maybe your toaster runs linux for all I know. It’s absolutely ubiquitous. You want angry geeks, that’s BSD, which is the basis of Apple’s OS.

    Regardless, linux does work, it’s an alternative that does not wall you into Apple’s garden, it doesn’t require you to change your hardware, and for 99% of the things most home users do there is no significant difference between Windows, Mac, and the various linux flavors.

    You would have done better to look at the shortcomings and benefits of each system rather than dismissing one of them out of hand.

  • Mike Wendland

    Linux will never… ever…ever!… be a serious contender in terms of public usage.
    Yes…it works great…. but the public will never turn to it in significant numbers to be a viable alternative to Windows and Mac.
    I will never endorse Linux for the public.
    Geeks yes. Most people…. never.

    • Ron Le Blanc

      Another religious war. Don’t we have enough of that out in the real world that we can leave it out of our beloved geek/teck world? Linux is just that – you either love it or not. But it does have one glorious advantage – it is not “Microsoft” anything. To any geek/teckie that has to be worth at a minimum – a huge smile and an at-a-boy/girl to all the Linux developers out there. Eh?

  • Carpathian

    I agree that Linux will never be overly popular with the general public, my husband is a geek and I am not too shabby with tech either. I am NOT and WILL NEVER be an APPLE fan and for those that think Apple products cannot be hacked should review Apple history! I have just recently changed my browser to FireFox but as soon as IE is cleared I will return to it. It is hands down the worlds best for the general public and businesses.

  • Staevart

    I transitioned from XP to Linux about two years ago and never looked back. The problem with Mac is that every five years or so Apple will come out with a new operating system that will not run on older Macs. This forces the user that wants to upgrade to shell out another ~$1K for a new system. That doesn’t happen with Linux. You may be right about Linux never being mainstream, but that’s okay. Why? Because if it did, the bad guys would start taking notice and do bad things to it. Life under the radar can be blissful and cheap

  • Jim Van Heule

    Being a web designer since 1996, I’ve had to use all versions of Windows, Apple and Linux to test web designs to verify that they work across all platforms. Windows by far was a nightmare and our websites broke with each new version or update. That has slowly improved as Windows slowly embraces standards which Firefox, Safari and Chrome has done years ago. I easily spent 100x more time dealing with Windows issues than that on a Mac or Linux. Mac and Linux just works. Even though I’m fully familiar with all platforms, I use the Mac for my daily use.