The internet is a Wild West of sorts. One can never know what kind of cyberthreat they’ll come across. This is why businesses should use secure web browsers to keep threats at bay. But how safe are the popular browsers of today? Let’s find out.
Microsoft Edge, Windows 10’s current default browser, is an improvement over its predecessor Internet Explorer (IE). Edge is based on the open source Chromium browser, resulting in a powerful and efficient browser that supports Progressive Web Apps and Google Chrome extensions.
Edge’s main advantage is that it is Windows 10 computers’ native browser, which means it should integrate more seamlessly with the Windows OS ecosystem in terms of power usage and data security. It uses Windows Defender SmartScreen to protect users from phishing and malware attacks. And it has a three-level defense against third-party trackers, allowing users to choose between Basic, Balanced, and Strict levels of blocking trackers from collecting personal data and monitoring browsing behavior.
Safari is a graphical web browser developed by Apple for iOS, iPad OS, and macOS. The current iteration is Safari 14, released September in 2020 alongside macOS Big Sur, and it’s also compatible with Catalina and Mojave.
Safari has long been using a system called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) that identifies and prohibits trackers from accessing a user’s personal data. Safari 14’s Privacy Report feature shows all the trackers ITP has blocked. Safari also has secure password monitoring, which notifies users if any of their saved passwords in iCloud shows up in a data breach. The browser, however, is only available on Apple devices, with full capabilities found only on MacBooks and Macs.
Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation. It is widely available across platforms, even on Unix and Unix-like operating systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, illumos, and Solaris Unix.
Because of Firefox’s open-source development platform, it can be quite unsecure to use on public computers. For personal and single-user business devices, however, Firefox is relatively safe, especially once all security features are activated and tweaked to your needs. Some key features include a password manager called Firefox Lockwise, a third-party tracker protection system, Private Browsing, and Firefox Monitor, which checks if your email address has been compromised in a data breach.
Mozilla also has a Bug Bounty program, which offers a financial reward to anyone who can identify gaps and holes in Firefox code, so the browser can be patched and improved as urgently as possible. Mozilla also promises no legal action against anyone who complies in good faith under its Bug Bounty program, including any claim under the DMCA for circumventing technological measures.
Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It is the default browser for Google’s line of laptops and third-party Chromebooks. Chrome utilizes a process allocation model to sandbox tabs. Sandboxing is a security mechanism for separating running programs to keep software vulnerabilities from spreading.
Chrome also regularly updates two sets of blacklists, one for phishing and one for malware, which it uses to warn users of potentially harmful sites. It also touts site isolation and predictive phishing protection features that receive regular and critical updates every six weeks and within 24 hours of a threat being discovered, respectively.
Being aware of how your web browser stacks up against the competition is only half the battle. Ransomware like WannaCry can spread to uninfected systems through a gap in the Windows security framework, and most other malware infections prey on human error. What your business needs is a comprehensive security audit. For more information, call us today.