Web browsers are one of those things that the average computer user doesn’t give a lot of thought. Most computer devices, from desktops to tablets, come with one or more browsers pre-installed, and as long as there aren’t any obvious problems, users tend to stick with what’s readily available rather than downloading alternatives. However, each browser is a little different, and the consumer would be wise to learn those differences - especially when it comes to ensuring network security and being able to surf the web without always worrying about malware.
Each browser likes to claim itself as the most advanced and safest choice out there, but which one really is the safest? Here’s a breakdown of four major browsers and the security features they offer.
Firefox has long been the preferred browser of most computer users, but in recent years, some have started to turn to other browsers, like Chrome, for faster speeds. Firefox is heavily customizable, and with its new rapid release cycle is quick to fix any security holes.
Firefox offers the following safety features:
Firefox limits downloads of any applications unless the user is connected to a secure. connection and integrates antivirus applications to verify the safety of a download.
Firefox has also created a click-to-play plugin that will give users a warning if their plugin is out-out-date or vulnerable to attacks.
The browser offers silent updates of its security measures.
Firefox also has a content security policy that blocks cross site scripting attacks.
HTTP Strict Transport Security prevents login information from being intercepted by hackers.
To help protect privacy, Firefox offers a ‘do not track option’ that blocks websites from installing cookies and ‘forget this site’ which eliminates web browsing history.
Chrome is a Google product and offers some stiff competition to Firefox. Chrome is the fastest web browser to date and offers excellent customer support and customizability. It also has a good track record with safety and offers the following security features:
Chrome will update automatically to the safest version available, so users never need to install an update themselves.
Chrome also has strong protections in place to protect Chrome extensions from malware.
The browser utilizes sandboxed tabs that keeps a crash on one page from spreading to the pages on the other tabs that are currently open.
Chrome avoids external plugins for Flash and PDF by having built-in support for each.
Chrome has a malware blocking feature that blocks harmful URL’s.
Internet Explorer (IE) has been a cast off for years due to its poor safety record and its tendency to crash a computer as soon as it is opened. Microsoft is working to change this reputation by completely upgrading IEâs security in versions 9 and 10, and so far the newer versions have gotten some good reviews. IE now offers the following safety features:
Internet Explorer is proud of its newest versions, IE 9 and IE 10, for their ability to block dangerous downloads at a much higher success rate than other browsers.
IE 10 will warn users if a Windows 8 app looks questionable, if it is posted outside of Microsoft’s app store.
A tracking protection feature will blacklist bad sites as users come across them, and allows manual additions as well. The feature also prevents downloads of tracking devices.
An additional ‘do not track’ feature protects user privacy by blocking advertisers from tracking online activity.
The ActiveX filter blocks all ActiveX content automatically but allows the user to control its activation.
Safari tends to be less known or used because until recently it was only available to Apple users. Safari has a minimalist interface unique from other browsers, which maintains its fast speeds. Safari offers very little add-ons, and those that are available tend not to be useful.
Safari has the following safety features:
Safari offers a private AutoFill, which keeps a website from reading what you type when you fill out a form to prevent hackers from stealing your private information. It also comes with the option to automatically add info from your contacts for convenience.
Safari will also post a warning if a website is grabbing your location information, and allows you to block the info if you want.
The browser has phishing and malware blocking features.
Safari is customizable and allows users to delete their browsing history for privacy.
Safari has the same safe browsing feature as Firefox and Chrome that blocks any malicious site listed by Google.
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