New research from Accuvant LABS has looked into the security of the three most widely used browsers and has found that overall, the most secure is Google Chrome.
The research was commissioned by Google, however, although it’s described as being a “comprehensive and independently designed security analysis” which is intended to “advance discussion of best practices in the security community.”
Accuvant say that security can be confusing for the average user when it comes to the best browser as marketing materials are often contradictory.
This leads to most users having little clue as to how secure each browser is and the company says that their research aims to fix this.
Many consumers use Firefox as it has a reputation for being the most secure, however, this particular report has the Mozilla browser coming in last place in the top three behind Internet Explorer.
The research compared browsers “from a layered perspective” as well as “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,” the report explains.
The 120 page report on the findings of the research is complex and technical which is part of the reason that browsers haven’t been compared in this way before.
The technologies relate “to how the inner workings of a computer go about their business and understanding and comparing them is quite a task.”
The company behind the research have also made their findings available to the public as they have apparently strived to ensure that the study stands up to outside scrutiny. As such, all of the data collected and tools used are accessible.
The research looked at the anti-exploitation measures each browser had in place by examining the internals of the software and seeing how they were implemented.
This, they say, is the most effective way to judge security in each product.
This showed that Google Chrome is the most secure browser due to its plug-in security and sandboxing architectures which are more thorough and comprehensive than Firefox’s and IEs.