Which Browser Is Most Secure? A New Study Reports A Surprise

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 12, 2011

Ask some organizations why they bar users from using open source browsers at work, and the IT administrators running the show will say that they don't consider open source browsers to be secure. It's a common refrain. Lots of large organizations don't develop for Android or let employees use the platform for security reasons too. Now, Accuvant, a firm that does security research, is out with results from a new study that find one open source browser to be not so secure, but the interesting thing is that another leading open source browser is found to be the most secure choice of all.

Accuvan'ts study pitted Mozilla Firefox against Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. According to the study's summary:

"We compared browsers from a layered perspective, taking into account security architecture and anti-exploitation techniques.   Like antivirus or anti-malware software, each provides an additional layer of defense. The nice thing is, when anti-exploitation technology prevents an attack, anti-malware and antivirus aren't needed. The idea is that it’s a lot easier to keep a fortress with a moat safe than it is to protect a beach shack."

Interestingly, the study found Firefox to be least secure, Internet Explorer to fall in the middle of the pack, and Google Chrome to be the most secure browser of all. The summary reports:

"Firefox is behind when it comes to implementing anti-exploitation technologies. Internet Explorer and Chrome are close, but Chrome’s plug-in security and sandboxing architectures are more thorough and comprehensive.  Therefore, Accuvant LABS has deemed Google Chrome to be the most secured against attack."

As always, take these results with a grain of salt. There are many ways to evaluate security. In my own experience, though, Google Chrome's sandboxing and architecture do seem to make it quite secure and it feels like an even more secure choice on the Linux platform.

Check out Accuvant's complete findings and their whitepaper here