Microsoft Releases IE 8 for Download

Posted by at 2:30 pm on March 19, 2009

Microsoft is releasing the next version of their web browsing software Internet Explorer ver. 8 (IE 8 ) today in conjunction with a keynote address by Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer, at the MIX09 web development and design conference in Las Vegas.

The company is highlighting new security and performance features that it says will help users to browse the web more safely and efficiently.   Here are the ways Internet Explorer 8 is designed to make browsing faster and easier:

  • Smart Address Bar – The Smart Address Bar makes it easier for people to locate the sites they want to visit. It does this by efficiently matching what a consumer types into the Address Bar with titles in their History and Favorites, without duplicates.
  • Tab Groups – Tab Groups allow consumers to quickly discern which tabs have related content. When clicking on a link within one tab spawns another, the new tab is placed next to the originating tab, and both tabs are marked with a color.
  • Redesigned “New Tab” Page – The “New Tab” Page in Internet Explorer 8 has been redesigned to allow people to perform common tasks by clicking on links on the page.
  • Reopen Last Browsing Session – For those who accidentally close the browser or experience a crash, Internet Explorer 8 enables people to reopen their last browsing session from the most recently closed instance of Internet Explorer 8.
  • Enhanced Find On Page – Find On Page functionality has been enhanced to improve how consumers search for text on Web pages. Find On Page. Find On Page now appears as a toolbar activated by pressing Ctrl-F or choosing Find On Page from the Edit menu or Instant Search Box. The toolbar appears below the user’s tab so it doesn’t obscure any of the text on the page.   Result count, the enhanced Find On Page functionality shows how many places the search text appears on the page.   Result highlighting, the enhanced Find On Page functionality makes it so users can locate an item at a glance since it highlights all places on the page where the search text appears.

Some of the enhancements Microsoft has added to improve security and privacy for users while they are browsing are:

  • InPrivate –   InPrivate helps to protect people’s data and privacy from being retained locally on the PC they are using. This protects against third parties who might be in a position to track a consumers’ online activities. Consumers have the ability to use either of the features (InPrivate Blocking or InPrivate Filtering) independently.   When activated, InPrivate Browsing helps ensure that History, temporary Internet files and cookies are not recorded on a PC after browsing. When in InPrivate Browsing, toolbars and extensions are automatically disabled, and browsing History is automatically deleted when the browser is closed.
  • Delete Browsing History – Internet Explorer 8 enhances the Delete Browsing History feature by providing the ability to delete some cookies, History and other data while preserving cookies, History and other data for favorite sites.
  • SmartScreen Filter – Built upon the Microsoft Phishing Filter, the SmartScreen Filter helps protect customers against a broader set of phishing threats and helps protect from sites that attempt to download malicious software. The SmartScreen Filter is easy to use with enhanced user interface and warning messages to reduce users’ click-through to confirmed sites.
  • ClickJacking prevention – New in Internet Explorer 8 is a feature that allows Web site content owners to put a tag in a page header that will help prevent ClickJacking, a type of cross-site request forgery. ClickJacking encompasses multiple techniques that can be used to trick Web users into unwittingly clicking an obscured or hidden Web element, usually resulting in an unwanted transaction. Internet Explorer 8 will detect sites that insert the tag and give users a new error screen indicating that the content host has chosen not to allow their content to be framed, while giving users the option to open the content in a new window.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) filter – Internet Explorer 8 helps protect customers and systems from attacks that can lead to information disclosure, cookie stealing, account or identity theft, or other attempts to masquerade as the user without permission. XSS attacks have emerged as a leading exploit against Web servers and Web applications. Internet Explorer 8 has an XSS filter that is able to dynamically detect type-1 XSS (reflection) attacks.
  • Data Execution Prevention (DEP) – DEP, on by default in Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, is a security feature that can help prevent damage to computers from viruses and other security threats by preventing certain types of code from writing to executable memory space.
  • Cross-Document Messaging (XDM) – XDM provides a highly secure method that allows different documents to communicate with each other given mutual consent. XDM is a simple, standards-based, high-performance mechanism for bidirectional cross-document communication. Internet Explorer 8 also provides a toStaticH L method and native JavaScript Object Notation support to safely sanitize data without sacrificing performance.

Internet Explorer 8 is available for download in 25 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (Traditional, Simplified and Hong Kong), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. More information and a download of Internet Explorer 8 (as of noon EDT on March 19) can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8

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