Which web browser is the most secure?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Suzanne 'arial0197' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I thoroughly enjoy your newsletters! Every day I find myself at your website browsing through the older issues to learn something new. I don't have a dilemma for you today, but would be very grateful to hear your opinion on what you think is the best web browser.

In the last few months, I started using Mozilla Firefox. I absolutely love the 'tabbed browsing' feature that enables me to open up and flip to another web site without having umpteen different browser Windows opened up in my tray bar. Prior to Firefox, I used Internet Explorer for quite some time, MSN, and a few others. In your opinion, what is the all time best browser for Windows XP? "

My response:

Tons of folks swear up and down about using Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer because it's more compact [utilizing less system memory and processing power], and because Firefox is based on the same programming code that runs Netscape Navigator -- one of Internet Explorer's leading competitors.

However, one of the biggest reasons why people opt to use Firefox in place of IE is simply because it's a more secure package. This is especially true if you don't have Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed [and even more so if you're not running Windows XP since Service Pack 2 is only available for XP!].

The issue of which browser is "more secure", however, is an ongoing debate. In fact, others argue that IE's security flaws are over-reported in the media simply because of IE's popularity. Case and point: almost 70% of all users who browse our web site use Internet Explorer, compared to 23% who use Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape browsers. Click here for an example.

I personally use Mozilla as an alternative to IE when checking my web pages to make sure they're compatible with both browsers, plus (as you mentioned), it supports tabbed browsing. However, for the majority of my web browsing, I enjoy using Internet Explorer simply because I'm accustomed to using it.

That being said: the most compatible and most secure web browser for Windows XP is the one that has all of the latest bug fixes and updates. Regardless of which flavor of Windows you're using, you need to update your operating system (by visiting Windows update and a regular basis) and by ensuring that your web browser is up to date.

Internet Explorer will update automatically providing you install all your security updates (or by visiting Windows Update). As for Firefox or any other web browser: some have a feature that will notify you when a new version is available, but just to be safe, you should visit the vendor's web page once in a while to ensure you have the latest version.

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