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Risk

7/13/2007
06:30 AM
50%
50%

Browsing for Browsers

Security can be an important factor when choosing a browser

2:30 PM -- There's nothing more personal in computing than your choice of browser. Some people choose their browser from a security perspective. Some choose theirs because it’s fun to be able to do something that the other browsers can’t. Others want stability. But no matter the reason, everyone has a preference.

In the security community –- where you'd think users would have a high interest in keeping their data safe -– there's a clear split. Here’s a capture of traffic for a recent security webcast which demonstrates the division:

Figure 1:

The number of outdated browsers surprised me. Perhaps these users are asked by their companies not to upgrade in order to minimize the support requirements. Perhaps they think older versions are more stable. Or maybe they’ve even manually patched the older releases. It’s a stretch.

From a security perspective, there are pros and cons when choosing a default browser for your enterprise. Picking an older one means that all the known vulnerabilities have been patched. Picking a new one means you have new, untested features. The differences in the browsers -- the features and the methodologies of each -- make choosing a standard browser a troubling task for an enterprise.

Only one thing is certain -- if you aren’t paying attention to your user’s browsers, you aren’t paying attention to one of the easiest paths for hackers to exploit when breaking into your network.

— RSnake is a red-blooded lumberjack whose rants can also be found at Ha.ckers and F*the.net. Special to Dark Reading

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