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Group test: which web browser is most secure?

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE tested

All of the most popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, have different security advantages and shortcomings. We've put them through rigorous tests, to find out which is best for you.

Google Chrome 1.0

Google's first browser is a security paradox. It begins with the best browser security model, but then layers questionable decisions over a dearth of security features. It utilises Windows Vista's new security features even better than the browser that came with Vista. JavaScript runs inside of a virtual machine environment, where it is further restricted.

Unfortunately, Chrome has almost no significant security granularity, and no separate security zones in which to place websites with different trust expectations. More disappointing, you cannot disable JavaScript at all. This is a huge security oversight, even if Google believes the browser can trap malicious JavaScript within the sandbox. Perhaps most troubling, Chrome has been plagued by relatively simple buffer overflow problems.

Chrome has the potential to be one of the most secure internet browsers, but its initial showing only leaves significant questions.

Mozilla Firefox 3.12

Mozilla's Firefox deserves the growing market share it has today. It is a battle-tested veteran with best-in-class cipher support, excellent add-on management, and growing enterprise features. Firefox has a fair amount of security granularity and is the only browser besides Internet Explorer to provide multiple security zones, although they are not easy to configure.

JavaScript can be disabled on a global basis, but it takes a separate add-on (called NoScript) to enable or disable it on a per-site basis. Using the About:security option in the URL bar allows the user to configure dozens of features and security settings, but the only enterprise deployment and management tools are offered by third parties. Firefox makes a good browser choice for anyone, especially for users who want to avoid the risk of native ActiveX support.

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NEXT PAGE: IE8, Opera and Safari

  1. We put Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE through their paces
  2. Making a secure browser
  3. How to measure the security of a browser
  4. Vulnerability announcements and attacks
  5. The most secure browser
  6. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox
  7. IE8, Opera and Safari

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