Web browsing is the most popular PC activity.
It’s also the most dangerous PC activity.
Today, approximately 95% of PC viruses come from web browsing. You can receive viruses through the web platform of your email client – like Gmail – or by visiting an infected website.
Today’s antivirus software typically only detects a virus after it’s installed on your PC – which doesn’t make it very useful.
Fortunately, browser developers have started stepping up to the plate by offering their own virus detection tools.
These tools provide the first line of defense between your computer and a deadly virus. But are you using the most secure web browser?
Hint: It’s not Chrome
When you read a headline talking about secure web browsers, most people think of Google Chrome. Google has implemented a number of helpful security measures directly within Chrome.
Chrome warns you when you’re about to click on a malicious website, for example, and double checks to make sure you want to download .exe files and other potentially dangerous file extensions.
But according to a new report, Chrome is one of the least secure popular browsers available today.
That report comes from Skybox Security, which studied the most popular internet browsers available today and found some surprising results.
First, take a look at this graph, which shows that Chrome has more vulnerabilities than any of the other “Big 5” popular web browsers:
Based on that graph, Opera is the most secure browser and Chrome is the least secure. However, there are other things to consider, like:
Chrome releases browser updates approximately once every 2 weeks, while Apple releases Safari updates every two months.
According to Skybox Security,
“Time is the single biggest factor in determining the size of the attack surface, and therefore the risk exposure an organization is facing.”
In other words, faster updates mean better security.
Is there really a “most secure” internet browser?
What’s more important? Rapid updates or the number of security threats?
Skybox Security didn’t choose a “most secure” browser. However, out of the 5 browsers on this list, the most secure is most likely Chrome.
Outside of that list, there are browsers devoted specifically to privacy – although not necessarily security. The Tor Browser is ideal for privacy because it encrypts all traffic sent between you and the server and relays that encrypted data through an anonymizing proxy.
The first chart posted here is misleading. Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser. Opera is the least popular out of those “Big 5” and commands approximately 1% market share.
Hackers are constantly going after the biggest fish in the pond, which is Chrome. Thus, Chrome is going to face more attacks due to its popularity.
In fact, the first chart posted here looks remarkably similar to a browser market share chart:
Chrome is leading the way, followed distantly by IE and Firefox. Trailing far behind are Safari and “Other”.
Faster updates = better security. The most important thing to come out of the Skybox Security study was the fact that Google updates its browser more frequently than any of its competitors. And that makes it more adept at identifying viruses than IE, Firefox, or Opera.
You can download Chrome today for free at https://www.google.com/intl/en-CA/chrome/browser/