Friday, July 11, 2008

45% of Global Browser Users at Risk by Non-updating Patches

RISK : 45% of Global Browser Users at Risk by Non-updating Patches

Study Finds Firefox Users More Safer Than IE Users

Ankur Goyal with CRPCC Team

July 10, 2008

Study Source - http://www.techzoom.net/publications/insecurity-iceberg/index.en

According to a study by The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Google and IBM's Internet Security Services, Mozilla Firefox users are the safest Web browser users on the Internet, globally.

The study titled "Understanding the Web browser threat: Examination of vulnerable online Web browser populations and the 'insecurity iceberg" released on July 01, 2008 by Swiss Institute.

Out of estimated 1408 million web browser users world-wide, almost 637 million are at risk due to non-updating of their browser software security patches. Out of 637 million unsafe users globally, 577 million uses Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE); 38 million uses Firefox; 17 million uses Safari and 5 million uses Opera browsers.

Thus, about 45% of web browser users are at risk.

The study was spread over for 18 months. The researchers concluded Firefox users as by far the safest Web surfers on the Web with 83% users using most recently updated web browser. Next to Firefox, Safari users with 65% were using the latest version of the browser. The study concluded that only 48% of IE users were surfing the Internet with the most recent updated version of IE.

One of the main reasons of Firefox's safety ranking is due to its self updating by the software updates and patches. Firefox has a in-built updating mechanism which means that Firefox Mozilla users are far more likely to have the most up-to-date (and safest) version of their browser. On the other hand IE need to be updated via Windows Update.

It is not that, that Firefox has not been immune to security flaws. Just few hours after the most recent Firefox security patch release last month, researchers discovered an undisclosed security vulnerability. Despite these problems, Firefox browser is increasing in popularity with a current market share of around 19 percent.

Recently, there was a warning from US-CERT about Internet Explorer, which is the most widely used browser, that it has some very serious security flaws that can leave the user vulnerable to malicious browser attacks. The security hole found by researchers report the IE flaw affects three versions of Internet Explorer: IE6, IE7 and IE8, beta 1.

Microsoft is still not able to fix the problem, because unlike most malicious software the zero-day flaw allows code to be embedded into the user's operating system and shows no signs of any unusual activity, at least by current modes of malware detection.

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