Microsoft Short on Specifics to IE Questions

As a series of exploits draws scrutiny of the browser, Microsoft responds to users' questions about its plans during an online chat.

Internet Explorer users continued to hammer Microsoft with questions about the Web browsers security during an online discussion Thursday, but they also sought answers about IEs future support for Web standards and new features.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker hosted a public chat with IEs product and development team on its Windows XP Expert Zone Community site. Another chat is planned for Aug. 12.

Microsofts browser has come under attack in recent weeks for security issues, leading to increased calls that users consider alternative browsers to protect themselves from exploits.

Security researchers also have noted that all browsers have had security vulnerabilities, though IE has had more reported issues.

/zimages/4/28571.gifMozilla is facing a security flaw that could open its Windows browsers to attack. Click here to read more.

Security remained a dominant concern during the online chat, and Microsoft continued to promise improvements in IE security in Service Pack 2 (SP2) of Windows XP, due out this summer.

Some of the 100-odd participants on the one-hour Web chat repeatedly asked the IE team to pinpoint when they could expect a cumulative patch for the browser and about whether they should continue to run IE. Microsoft last week released an early fix for the Download.Ject exploit but has promised a more comprehensive fix.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about how security researchers are pointing to another IE security exploit similar to Download.Ject.

Responding to a question about the timing for a full IE patch, an IE team member offered no new details and referred users to Microsofts information page on Download.Ject.

"I cant offer a specific date," wrote Dean Hachamovitch, who heads the IE team. "We have people working around the clock on it."

Also asked about the recommendation last month from CERT (the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team) that users consider switching browsers as one way to avoid IE security issues, Hachamovitch deflected the question.

"What claim can you make that we should continue to support IE in terms of our user base?" an anonymous participant asked.

"Im not sure who your user base is and what you mean by continue to support IE," Hachamovitch responded. "Can you clarify?"

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