Starting next week, European users of Internet Explorer may expect to see an invitation to choose an alternative browser for surfing the worldwide web.
As part of a settlement of a long-running anti-competition dispute with the European Union, Microsoft has agreed to display a list of alternative browsers to the millions of people who currently use Internet Explorer by default.
The first screen that Windows users will see is headlined “An important choice to make: your browser”, and is followed by a kiosk of alternative browser choices including Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox:
This is obviously a great opportunity for the non-Microsoft browsers to grow their marketshare – and it will be fascinating to see how many regular internet users are intrigued enough by the thought of an alternative way of surfing the web to try out a product other than Internet Explorer.
I do worry, however, whether cybercriminals might attempt to take advantage of this initiative by creating bogus browser choice screens that could pop up on innocent users’ PCs and potentially lead them to a malicious download.
With possibly millions of people seeing the legitimate browser choice screen, it’s easy to imagine that anyone querying a similar-looking pop-up on their screen could be batted off with a hasty “Yes yes, it’s legitimate.. we’re all seeing it.”
So, as a small contribution to help stop you falling into that trap, here are some helpful links where you can learn more and download some of the top internet browsers. Note that I haven’t put them in any particular order, I’m not implying any preferences here:
Remember that no browser is perfect, and whichever one you choose it is essential that you keep it properly patched and updated to reduce the chance of hackers exploiting security vulnerabilities.
Microsoft has posted more information, including screenshots of what the choice dialogs will look like, on its website.