With most spyware targeting Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), network administrators might want to consider deploying a different browser, according WatchGuard Technologies.

"For security's sake, any network administrator must decide whether to deploy an alternative web browser, or to minimize the organization's exposure by locking down IE and deploying spyware countermeasures," wrote Dave Piscitello, an advisory member of WatchGuard's Live Security Service support team, in an article published by the vendor.

Browsers such as Mozilla/Firefox, DeepNetExplorer, and Opera "natively support many attractive features" such as SSL-capability and "pop-up killers," said Piscitello, who also is president of consulting firm Core Competence.

Those browsers do not support Browser Helper Object (BHO), a customization program for IE, which makes them immune to spyware that hijacks home pages and search engines, according to the article.

However, none of the browsers has been immune to bugs, so adminstrators must carefully compare their strengths and weaknesses, Piscitello advises. His paper also offers tips on securing IE.

The Mozilla Foundation earlier this week said its Firefox browser crossed the 50 million download threshold.

www.watchguard.com