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I must admit, I did use IE quite a bit lately, but it was just to use online scanners.

I also used it on a computer that I was working on for someone, I really noticed a slow down compared to how quick I would normally do things in FF. IE is just so unorganized with regards to the layout of everything.

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Reason being, if you visit a website that has malware installed on it, then you are asking for that malware to be downloaded to your computer, just as you ask any website to download all the contents of it's pages to your computer.

Although that is not the end of it, obviously there are other forms of malware that could be blocked by a firewall.

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Absolutely, a real time anti-spyware app will help to block malicious content. Also, if a firewall has a built in anti-spyware module, such as Outpost does, then that will help to block malware as well.

Not all firewalls are built that way though.

Firewalls are built to stop hackers and worms and such, firewalls block connections, firewalls will not protect you from all threats, not all firewalls block malicious content.

You probably use email, visit Web sites and perhaps receive instant messages. You may also download files. Any of these can carry malicious content into your computer. The firewall happily lets it through because you asked for it, you sent the request for the content. It just turned out to be malicious.

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