Friday, March 27, 2009

Security Update - Internet Browsers

Internet Explorer 8 is out and within a week needed a security patch.  While it is much improved it is always asking permission to do something.  From a security standpoint this is good, but the user ends up just blindly agreeing to get to the next page.  Or the user just cancels and does not get to where they want to go.

There are other choices.

Opera - fast and smooth.  I use it as a backup browser and it is a favorite on portable devices like phones.  Has a built in mail client and reader.  

Safari - is the stock web browser that comes on a Mac.  It can also be used on Windows. 

Chrome - is based on Safari but has been re-worked by Google to be a fast and light web browser.  As of this date it is one of the most secure web browsers available.  It survived the first day of a hacking contest in Mid March.  Opera was not part of the contest.  

FireFox - is the most powerfull of the browsers and fairly secure.  The reason for this is primarily that it is open source (anyone can look at and modify the code for their own use).  So this allows lots of people to write add-on programs that make Firefox the most customizeable of the Browsers.

So... what do I reccomend?  

I cannot reccomend using Internet Explorer as your primary method of "surfing" the internet.  I would say it is even a bit like leaving your car unlocked with a sweater thrown over your valuables to protect them from theft.

 FireFox is still the more secure and has a endless amount of add ons that are extremely usefull.  I think it is a logical choice for many people.  This is certainly the case instead of Internet Explorer.

 Safari has had many security flaws over the last year and thus I am reluctant to reccomend it.  It was hacked in record time on a Mac.  Part of that is how the underlying operating system handles code.

Opera is a very nice Browser.  It is available on many more devices than any other browser.  I do not care for the closed nature, but that may be a plus.

Chrome is kind of minimalist and fast.  But currently only available on Windows.  I do use it on older machines and reccomend that you try it for yourself.

As I close up on this thought I just want to say that there are some nasty bugs on the horizon.  You need to start using passwords that are not easy to break.  I will share some thoughts on password management soon.