It's become something of a tradition for this column to lambast the security holes in the world's most popular web browsing software, Internet Explorer, and encourage readers to try alternative programs instead.
But it's all change this week, with news of a security problem for almost all web browsers except Internet Explorer. And some encouraging news for IE's future.
The security issue appeared suddenly when a group of secretive internet activists who run the shmoo.com website made an announcement.
All browsers, apart from IE, were vulnerable to a simple trick that could be used by the unscrupulous to create fake websites.
The helpful shmoo.com people even set up a demonstration of the trick, inviting people to click on a link. Their web browser (if it wasn't IE) would tell them they were visiting paypal.com, but the page they saw was in fact on a completely different website.
It all boils down to the way browsers display the text of website addresses.
You've probably noticed that whenever you're looking at any web page, its address is displayed at the top of the browser window; usually it begins with that cryptic "http://" phrase.
Many of the non-IE browsers have been designed to allow characters from foreign languages, such as Chinese and Russian, in that field.
This is so that internet users in those countries don't have to type in English characters to reach web sites - characters that probably won't even be on their keyboards.
What's gone wrong is the implementation of this useful feature. The affected browsers allow some oddlyencoded text characters to be displayed as normal English ones.
So someone could create a web page that looks for all the world exactly like your favourite online shop, or online bank, or payment system like Paypal. But it would be a fake, hiding beneath a fake address, and designed purely to extract your personal information --especially your credit card details --from you without your knowledge.
This practice is known as "phishing", and is the cause of many millions of spam email messages every day.
It's a good old fashioned scam, but sadly people still fall for it. A typical phishing email appears to come from a trusted service such as Paypal or one of the well-known banks.
It will typically use officialsounding language, informing you that your account details need to be updated to ensure future access to your funds.
Buried inside the email will be some links to web sites where you can do this. And while they might look official and by-the-board, in fact they'll be fakes.
The lesson is to always be suspicious of links in emails. Paypal has made clear that it never sends messages of this kind to users under any circumstances. If you really need to check your details on a site like Paypal, or your online bank, type the address manually into your web browser and log in as normal. Don't click a link in an email to do it for you.
Internet Explorer has been a controversial bit of software for years, even though the last major release (version 6) was way back in 2001.
Finally, it appears version 7 will be released later this year.
What's more, it will be a stand-alone application, not tied in to the rest of the operating system as previous versions were. Perhaps Microsoft has been encouraged to respond to the success of those rival browsers after all.
The boffins and webheads at Google blew away the competition - once again - last week with the introduction of Google Maps (maps.google.com).
This uniquely usable and clever web application boasts excellent digital maps of the USA that you can drag around with your mouse. Better than most other online map sites, and still only a week old.
Giles Turnbull has a website at gilest.org