Is any browser “safe”?
It’s a fair question considering this.
Judging from the headlines appearing this week on tech Web sites, you’d guess anyone using a browser other than Internet Explorer was a fool.
After all, IE version 9 scored a whopping 99.2 percent in NSS Labs’ worldwide test (PDF) of the ability of top browsers to detect socially engineered malware. IE 8 wasn’t far behind at 96 percent–the difference attributed by NSS Labs to the Application Reputation component added to IE 9‘s SmartScreen technology.
By comparison, the four other browsers tested were veritable social-malware sieves: Google Chrome 12 had a 13.2-percent detection rate, Firefox 4 and Safari 5 detected 7.6 percent, and Opera 6.1 percent.
Such dramatic results should be easy to corroborate, but a search for similar results from other sources came up empty. Every other browser comparison I could find rated Firefox, Chrome, and (usually) Opera above IE in terms of security. In fact, SecurityFocus lists 62 current vulnerabilities in IE 8, some dating back more than two years. The site reports 17 vulnerabilities in IE 9 (note that some of the vulnerabilities for each browser are listed as “retired”).
By comparison, there are no vulnerabilities reported currently for Chrome 13, Firefox 6, Safari 5, or Opera 11.
Whichever browser you prefer, ensure that you’re using the most recent version. Google Chrome updates automatically, IE gets its patches as part of Windows updates, and Safari is kept current via Apple Software Update. To set Firefox to update automatically, click Tools > Options > Advanced > Update (Windows) or the Firefox menu > Preferences > Advanced > Update (Mac) and make sure “Automatically download and install the update” is selected.
- Chrome Improves Anti-Malware Blocking Score by 340% (pcworld.com)
- Microsoft IE9 Blocks Malware Best (informationweek.com)
- Updated: Choosing the Safest Browser, Part One (benwoelk.wordpress.com)
Posted on August 22, 2011, in Cybersecurity, Internet, Microsoft, Mozilla, Security tips, Technology News, Web and tagged Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox, NSS Labs, Safari, SecurityFocus. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Is any browser “safe”?.