6 Reasons Why Mozilla Firefox Is Safe Compared To Internet Explorer

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imageWhile statistics put Internet Explorer clearly ahead as the most widely used web browser, it’s clear to many people that it is not due to the excellent programming. Subject to more than one official inquiry in Europe, and numerous columns, both online and in print, the practice of “˜bundling’ the infamous browser with the every copy of the operating system represents the primary reason behind its crushing dominance.

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Alternative web browsers are aplenty and have a low barrier of entry even for less technically savvy computer users, but people are generally not keen to change their habits or spending time researching, downloading and installing another application ““ especially when the one that comes preloaded appears to be working just fine.

1. Firefox is not perfect software, but its vulnerabilities are fixed in a considerably shorter amount of time. Many new users are curious – is Mozilla Firefox safe? Updates are released immediately, not on a monthly schedule, and clock in at fewer than 10 MB. Users are notified automatically and prompted to install the update with a single click. The update process doesn’t take more than a minute on a modern computer.

is mozilla firefox safe

2. Since Firefox is open source, anyone can look at the source code, anyone can spot a problem and contribute a fix. Would you leave your car keys with a guy that says “trust me” or at a car lot with video surveillance and a logbook?

3. ActiveX applets, the way IE extends the functionality of the browser, are a known highway for malware and viruses. Firefox works with verified and signed add-ons. Even if you choose to install a malicious add-on ““ and the browser warns you ““ the damage is limited to the information in the browser whereas ActiveX exploits could be used to take over the whole computer.

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is mozilla firefox safe

4. Conscious users can install NoScript, an add-on that takes care of vulnerabilities that are not yet patched, either in Firefox or other plug-ins such as Java, JavaScript and Adobe’s Flash. It achieves this goal by allowing the user to selectively enable interactive objects that the user decides to trust, automatically blocking the rest.

5.  Security through obscurity; malicious programmers will always target the browser with the largest user base, especially if that user base is less tech savvy.

6.  Firefox uses a service provided by Google that notifies the user before entering a potentially malicious web site. These websites ask for your financial data under false pretenses or contain malicious software often posing as something useful such as codecs or registry fixes.

is mozilla firefox safe

We check the radiator on the car when the temperature indicator turns red; by the time the computer starts acting up or not starting at all, and by all chances appearing to work just fine, your documents, passwords and financial data might already siphoned half a world away. Most people don’t realize this, there are no clear warnings, but using Internet Explorer is in itself a security threat.

I substantiate that statement by citing the Google Analytics on my blog ““ there are still people using old, un-patched and therefore vulnerable versions of Internet Explorer. The reasons behind this range from the hassle of dealing with Windows Update, millions of machines without a valid license which cannot access updates and users not realizing the importance of having up to date software.

This is not news, yet there are people unaware of the danger posed. Washington Post’s Brian Krebs reports on the Security Fix blog “Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006″. Even a fully patched and up-to-date version of IE 6 contains at least 22 discovered vulnerabilities; IE 7 stands at 9 and IE 8 at 2. By comparison, the latest version of Firefox (3.5.1), a free and open source browser, has zero un-patched vulnerabilities; the previous version (3.0.x) also stands at zero.

As always, you’re welcome to leave a comment below. Is Mozilla Firefox much more safe compared to IE? You might also want to check out some MakeUseOf posts on security, Firefox or browsers in general.

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Comments (24)
  • Tech Guy

    FF is faster and secure than IE. Microsoft always keep releasing patches and fixes but IE keeps crashing. Even IE8 does this. I heard IE9 is coming out.

  • Morgan

    I am quite sure that Firefox is both more secure, and better, then IE.

    However, I’m not totally convinced that Firefox is definitively better then Safari.

    The lack of Add-ons in Safari are also a lack of Add-on compatibility issues. While Firefox tries to detect these issues, it doesn’t always succeed.

  • anthony

    Give microsoft credit…for still not being up to par with their browser or OS after 20 years….
    WAIT they do do major improvements, pretty icons, new splash screens, daily updates that are “critical”. Never time to do it right but always time to fix it….

    Improvement is always good, but some ‘improvements’ do nothing but create more headaches. Is IE8 only 100% W3 compliant or do they still use their own brands of implementation (MS Java remember that and the law suits).

    I have to use IE at work…the online app was designed for IE instead of being designed for browsers.

  • Mony

    Very true. People fail to use a different browser, because they are too lazy to try a new one and hence IE always tops the user list even though it is the most vulnerable browser.

  • Shanna

    I saw a great comment in a tech article once that read, “Friends don’t let friends surf with IE.” I quote it all the time when trying to convince my users to make the switch from IE to Firefox.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.