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Since starting in with FireFox (back in FireBird 0.6), I had always thought that the Mozilla browsers were about as secure as they come. But, I've read comments like tedster's, below:
I won't fire up a less secure browser [than Opera] unless I have no alternative...
So I'm beginning to wonder, is Opera really more secure than Mozilla or FireFox, and if so, how, why, and in what ways?
Again, we all know that the many diverse advantages of one browser over another have been discussed ad infinitum here. (Or perhaps ad nauseum? ;) ) But I hope a specific question such as this won't be taken amiss.
That said -- anything other than IE can be considered secure. If IE wasn't tied into the OS it wouldn't have half the security flaws it now experiences.
Of course, part of this is because of IE's ubiquity. Guerrilla hackers won't bother to find an exploit for a browser that isn't a big fat target, because the returns are so slim. Same reason that armies blow up bridges: it's where the resources are concentrated.
Nevertheless, and for whatever reason, IE has had a ridiculous number of security problems. And if you ever research any shady neighborhoods... 'nuff said.
Tedster, that quote was from the thread about the Travelocity.com redesign:
I've seen other similar comments around here but yours really summed up the question I wanted to ask. I'm glad you consider FireFox secure as well, though - it's my favorite, but I'd have to at least think about a switch if you believed it has serious security flaws.
It's not necessarily sloppy coding or overlooked security holes?
There's probably some of that too... MS has a limit as to how many known bugs are allowed before releasing a new version. Of course, that's usually not a problem as long as the bugs are not publicly known.
Then, the fact that IE is integrated with the OS makes it so much more interesting to target. You can do much more damage, and access information more easily if you just break that gate. So, why bother with two gates when you can go through one?
Have you ever heard about a security flaw in Opera? ;)
Yes I have! [webmasterworld.com] (Posted in this forum by me only yesterday). Version 7.50 fixed this particular problem as well as another problem with download extension spoofing (see the changelog for 7.50). A quick check shows that Opera was vulnerable to a cookie path processing vulnerability prior to 7.20 beta, and from memory Opera 6 moved up version increments several times due to security problems.
This is not to criticize Opera specifically. Bakedjake is right about several serious vulnerabilities in Mozilla (and variants), and let's just say that Internet Explorer doesn't have the best reputation either. Overall, Opera has a good security record, and Opera Software appear to take problems seriously and make sure that corrections are made when problems occur. I think that's the best we can ask for. Just don't expect them to be perfect!