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Chapter 2. Protecting Your Security and ... > How Firefox Protects Your Security

How Firefox Protects Your Security

It used to be that the Internet was like a park in a small, friendly town. You could go there most any time of the day or night and have a good time without worrying about security or privacy. Now the Internet is still like a park, but it’s a park in a big urban area and it’s not always so friendly. There are some serious security threats out there: spyware, viruses, Trojan horses. If you’ll be doing any serious surfing at all—and you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this—you need to learn about ways to make things a little safer.

One of the biggest advantages that Firefox—and all other Mozillabased products, for that matter—offers is that it’s more secure than Internet Explorer. (Don’t take my word for it; check out the U.S. government’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team [US-CERT] warnings at http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/713878. Their findings point out that there are “a number of significant vulnerabilities” with IE. Among other things, the report recommends using a different web browser.)

Here are some of the reasons that Firefox is more secure:

  • Firefox is not integrated with Windows, so even if Firefox is compromised, viruses and trojan horses do not gain automatic access to many parts of Windows. The reverse is also true: if Windows is compromised, the attacking program does not necessarily gain access to Firefox.

  • Firefox does not support VBScript and ActiveX, which are frequently used to exploit security holes in IE.

  • Visiting a website with Firefox doesn’t allow spyware or adware to be automatically installed.

  • Firefox gives you complete control over web cookies.

These and many other reasons add up to a really great reason to use Firefox: you’ll be safer.

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