Symantec’s newest Internet Security Threat Report claims that Firefox has twice the number of vulnerabilities as Internet Explorer. Does that mean that Firefox is twice as dangerous as IE?
In a word, no. In fact, despite the Symantec report, Firefox remains a far more secure browser.
How can that be? First of all, even though Firefox may have twice as many theoretical vulnerabilities as IE, those vulnerabilities are rarely targeted. That’s because IE is so much more popular that it’s a much bigger target.
Second, Firefox vulnerabilities are patched far more quickly than IE ones, the report notes. So a Firefox security hole lasts a shorter time than one in IE.
Finally, when you attack Firefox you attack just a browser. When you attack IE, you can attack Windows itself and wreak far more damage. So a Firefox security hole, by nature, is less severe than an IE one.
Does this mean that Firefox users can remain smug about their security? Far from it. It should be a wake-up call to them and to the Mozilla Foundation that more work needs to be done. As Firefox gains in popularity, its security holes may be increasingly exploited.
Still, if you’re worried about security, you’d do well to switch from IE to Firefox — it’s flat-out more secure.
What do you think about Firefox security?