Study Suggests Firefox More Vulnerable Than IE

Dennis Faas's picture

In the tech world, conventional sentiment has always been that Mozilla's Firefox browser is safer and more secure than Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Now, antivirus and security company Symantec (Norton) is strongly challenging that notion.

A recent study by Symantec indicates that 25 confirmed security holes were discovered in Firefox during the first half of 2005 -- "the most of any browser studied," according to the authors of the research. Out of those 25 security defects, 18 were identified as high-risk.

Internet Explorer, on the other hand, contained 8 high-level security risks out of 13 -- less than Firefox. Symantec stated in its report that the high-ranking security breaches in both browsers could result in "a compromise of the entire system [PC] if exploited."

But IE users shouldn't rejoice just yet. "At the time of writing, no widespread exploitation of any browser except Microsoft Internet Explorer has occurred," Symantec said. The security company, however, "expects this to change as alternative browsers become increasingly widely deployed."

Furthering muddying the picture is that Symantec only counts the security flaws it has discovered. Secunia, a security monitoring company, tells a different tale. Their research uncovered 19 security problems in IE and only 3 in Firefox. (Source:

One might conclude from this article that Symantec and Microsoft are now in cahoots -- but that's definitely not the case. As tech website The Inquirer points out, Symantec is the same company who recently went to the European Union to complain about antitrust issues regarding Vista -- Microsoft's follow-up to Windows XP. (Sources: and

Whichever browser you use, the best way to protect yourself is to ensure that both your web browser and operating system are up-to-date with the most recent patches. Additionally, we also suggest using an up-to-date antivirus, firewall, and anti-spyware software.

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