As we more heavily rely on our browsers, are we safe?
Surfing the web is part of our daily routines. Hopping online to check email, Facebook, or just send a quick message to friends and coworkers, are all part of the wonder that is the Internet. While you’re surfing along, have you ever stopped to think about which browser you’re using and how safe it is? Is one browser any different than another?
Adjusting privacy settings, telling sites not to track your movements, and monitoring which sites you click on are all good security measures, but is it enough? A recent survey found that different browsers have different security issues.
Reviewing vulnerabilities of millions of computers
Before discussing security issues, it should be noted which browsers are most popular. According to a study conducted by WhoIsHostingThis (WIHT), Google Chrome is the most popular (31.8%), with Microsoft IE is a close second (30.9%). Apple Safari is next with 25 percent. Mozilla Firefox and Opera trail behind with less than 10 percent.
The Secunia Vulnerability Review sampled millions of private computers with the Secunia Personal Software Inspector installed and found that Mozilla Firefox had the highest number of vulnerabilities; perhaps this is why it is least popular. Although, Opera only had 11 known vulnerabilities.
These numbers could be a result of the smaller demographic pool, as there may not have been enough people using this browser to get an accurate reading. Google Chrome had 245 vulnerabilities, a surprisingly high number given how many people use the browser. Microsoft IE had 126 whereas Apple Safari had only 75. Since these statistics only account for computers using the Secunia software, it may not be an accurate portrayal of users across the board, but it does give a good starting point for further investigation.
How to improve your own browser’s safety
WIHT also suggests how you can secure your browser regardless of which one you choose to use. First, install quality anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Everyone has a different idea of which brands work best, but it is definitely a good idea to have both of these programs installed and regularly updated.
Also, make certain that you are regularly updating your browser, as this will give you the most current vulnerability patches. To take your security options one step further, activate your browser’s “do not track me” function. This will prevent sites from following you via tracking cookies. “Do not track me” is available for Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Safari.
Recommended browser extensions, add-ons
As this was a concentrated study, it is difficult to tell whether the numbers will match up across the board in a broader study, however, one thing you can take away from this study is to check and double check your browser and overall computer setting to ensure everything is updated and as secure as possible.