Microsoft Recommends Turning Off Javascript For Security Reasons

A recent article in PCWorld magazine caught my attention by pronouncing that Microsoft recommended 'crippling IE to protect your PC' by turning of scripting functionality such as Javascript.

I was pretty surprised that they would recommend such an extreme measure, especially as this would likely render 95%+ of web sites unusable. However, when I headed on over to the Microsoft page in question - on how to "Increase Your Browsing and E-Mail Safety" - there it was: "1. Set Internet Explorer security level to High".

For the benefit of any non-IE users, doing this turns off just about every piece of scripting functionality contained within IE. I enjoyed the little note they added below the instructions (shouldn't they have put this before the instructions, so you have a chance to change your mind?):

Note: The High setting may cause some Web sites to work improperly.

No kidding! Any novice users who did this would likely immediately wonder why the internet had suddenly stopped working. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that they recommended such an extreme step, but perhaps that's what it's come to now.

Footnote: Looks like now there's even more reason to move away from Javascript to pure CSS-based menus.

Posted on: August 10, 2004 | 3 Comments

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3 Comments Posted

I don't understand Microsoft. They're the biggest corporation this side of Neptune yet they seem to be totally mismanaged and completely out of touch with the most modern standards.

The best way to outfox spammers and hackers is to use a modern browser, which IE6 most definitely is not.

[BTW, for some reason when I include the title tag on a link it gets removed during preview. ]

Of course, if Firefox ever got as popular as IE, they would likely face the same problems with hackers as IE does currently - don't you think?

However, to recommend turning off features that will render much of the web unusable smacks of irresponsibility.

I'll check into the 'title' issue - thanks.

Christian, with regards to security, well of course any browser is going to be succeptable to hacker abuse at some point in the game, but firefox(or any moz based browser) does at least prevent most kinds of attacks by refusing to support very insecure protocols like ActiveX. Another big plus is that Firefox is not directly tied in to your operating system. IE users have the worst scenario because once your browser is hijacked they can basically do whatever they feel like to your entire system.

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