Internet Browser is more Secure?
December 17, 2008
time to time I am asked,
"What is the most secure browser?" or "Should I stop using
Microsoft Internet Explorer?" or even, "Is Firefox more
secure than I.E.?"
People who ask these questions usually have just heard
a news report about a security vulnerability with
Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox. For example,
this week Yahoo reported on a security vulnerability in
Microsoft Internet Explorer. This story was credible and
Microsoft has already released a fix for the problem.
The fix can be manually downloaded and applied or if
automatic updates are turned on, it will come down the
next time your system initiates an automatic Windows
update. Here is the link should you desire to download the
Microsoft out-of-band security update for Internet
Vulnerabilities have been, and will continue to
be, announced for all major Internet browsers. The
reporting of Microsoft vulnerabilities are given higher
visibility not because Internet Explorer is a less secure
browser, but because they make for higher impact news;
Internet Explorer represents a higher percentage of the
global installed product base than any other browser. No
major news agency really reports on a vulnerability
discovered within Blazer Web
Browser by Palm,
because it does not lead in the overall market share.
Curious which browsers lead the browser market share?
Market Share Report, by Net Application
When such vulnerabilities are reported, so come the
hyperbole articles about why this or that browser in
better or more secure than Internet Explorer. There are many article posted
to the Internet in support of various browsers, i.e Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. Many of these article outline
that generally speaking all these browsers are safe to
use, it is how you use them and where you go that can be
the issue. The articles also outline how to tighten the
browser settings for increased security, as well as,
noting the importance of keeping the browser updated,
having a good anti-virus and anti-spyware
installed, and having firewall protection.
Here is an article for Internet Explorer: Better
Browsing, Internet Explorer 7 offers improved security and
I really do not listen to the hyperbole opinions of news
agencies and weekend tech writers. Rather, I find the
information of reputable security firms or organizations
One resource is the The National Cyber Security
StaySafeOnline.org is the National Cyber Security
Alliance’s Website. Content on the website is developed in
cooperation with many of their partners including
government, industry, non-profit and education partners.
Their mission is to create a culture of cyber security and
safety awareness by providing the knowledge and tools
necessary to prevent cyber crime and attacks.
During the second quarter of 2008, Cenzic, a leader in
application security testing, published their latest
Application Security Trends Reports.
This report includes a section on web browser security and
vulnerabilities, and states: “Vulnerabilities in Web
browsers were concentrated among four popular technologies
- Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
The Firefox Web browser had the most reported
vulnerabilities during the Q2 2008 time period, comprising
roughly 41percent of the total browser vulnerabilities.
The chart below shows the percentage of the total browser
vulnerabilities associated with each product.
always seem to be someone that is out to ruin a good
thing. They continue to create their electronic infections
of viruses, spyware, email viruses, adware, worms, malware,
trojan horses, scumware, and more.
forms of electronic infections can damage your computer
and be spread to others. if you are running
Microsoft Windows Vista, XP Pro or or another Microsoft
Operating System, ensure you have the latest service pack
installed and the Windows firewall turned on. Also ensure
you have Automatic Updates turned on.
In addition to these items, install one of the best
anti-virus and anti-spyware programs available,
respectively Norton Antivirus
and Lavasoft Ad-Aware
Professional. Beyond the software firewall, make sure
your system is protected by a NAT based hardware firewall.
Other items in the security equation revolve around the
end-users practices. Some of the largest everyday threats
come from downloading free music, games, software, and
accepting third-party browser plug-ins from questionable
The newsletter I wrote in 2004 is still applicable today,
Security Tips for the Holidays
In summary, I remain an Internet Explorer user and a keen
fan of the big coding-house machine called
Microsoft. No other company has greater resources or
market shares at stake, which drives them to stay one step
ahead of the world’s hackers and malicious code creators
while providing you with great computing products.
We wish you peace, prosperity, and happiness during
this holiday season and throughout the coming year.
Troy Van Marter
Stratagem Technical Services® | Our Solutions, Your
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