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Which Is the Most Secure Browser for 2017 – Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari

Each year, it has become our tradition to outline the most secure browser for you, our readers:


The Most Secure Browser for 2014
The Most Secure Browser for 2015
The Most Secure Browser for 2016

These will be the main points in terms of which this article will present the browsers for 2017:

  • Market share
  • Updates frequency
  • Security and other specifics
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability

There will be no specific ranking classification as every browser differs in features. The browsers will be ordered purely by market share, starting with the browser that has the biggest market share, going with browsers that have fewer shares than the previously stated one, reaching the bottom with the one with the least shares.


Google Chrome

Google as a company is making a lot of improvements in order to provide a better future for its users, security-wise. A viable example of this is the fact that now Gmail blocks .JS attachments and several other ones. Those attachments allow for numerous exploits on a computer system and the decision from the company is certainly puts things in the right perspective in terms of security.

Considering that Google always keeps their products secure and up to date and has enough capital to do so, it is not surprising that Google Chrome has the largest market share out of all other browsers both in the US and on a global scale. Chrome takes 58.53% of the World’s market share and. The sandboxing functions and privilege restrictions, among its fast 15-day update period all contribute to a great foundation for security. With a few minor tweaks to the privacy settings and the diversity of add-ons you can further increase the security level of the browser.

  • 58.53% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated every 15 days
  • Security and other specifics: Sandboxing function
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability: Gmail blocks .JS attachments as well as others

Internet Explorer

Microsoft has been pushing their Windows 10 operating service hard since it came out. The company keeps advertising it as the safest and most secure system among other Windows versions, while also stating how Edge is faster and more secure than Internet Explorer.

As the support for Internet Explorer has been cut off in January of last year, for each of its versions except the 11th one, there is no wonder that the browser suffered an exceptionally high decrease in its user base. Interestingly enough, the browser is keeping second place in the World with its market share of 19.17%, albeit the huge drop.

The update schedule of Internet Explorer has certainly not improved, as updates being exactly on a 30 day basis are a thing of the past. The updates are fewer than ever and can come bundled with adverts for the newer OS of Microsoft. You can add extensions to a blacklist for sites that are known to be malicious or others, to add another layer of security.

  • 19.17% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated every 30 days or more
  • Security and other specifics: Option to add extensions to a blacklist for malicious actions

Microsoft Edge


The international market share for Microsoft Edge shows an increase since the last few months and now stands at 5.55%. That is only natural as the company wanted to make that happen. Microsoft’s focus on updates has shifted from Internet Explorer to Edge. Although the updates are still inconsistent, there can be up to three updates per month. In August of last year, the official stable release for the browser included extension support.

Extensions are now available via the Windows store, and for instance, an ad-blocker can be added to enhance the security level of the Edge browser. InPrivate browsing mode is fully functional and promises that no information of your browsing sessions to be saved on your computer.

  • 5.55% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated around 2-3 times a month
  • Security and other specifics: In-private browsing mode available
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability: Extensions support, including AdBlockers

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox has changed for the better in the past year. With a market share of 11.68% the browser wins the bronze spot in the ladder. The update schedule is shared on the blog of the browser. Around two months can pass between major version releases, but a more frequent update scheme is being kept for minor updates of one version. In that way, there can be a new update in just a few days. The browser has an in-built security protocol for checking websites for forgery and phishing. All test versions of Firefox are ahead of it, and if you want “nightly” updates as they come out, you should get the Nightly build.

Mozilla Firefox’s Private browsing mode includes tracking protection. You can put various add-ons on the browser as it doesn’t have in-built ones, but there are plenty to choose from, to suit all your privacy needs, including ad-blockers and the like. Firefox is preferred by many people, due to its high accessibility and diversity.

  • 11.68% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated inconsistently from a few days to a few weeks
  • Security and other specifics: Private browsing mode that excludes data collectors from tracking you
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability: Extensions support which offers diversity

Safari

Safari, the favorite browser of many Mac users, is at 3.45% of the global market share, which is not a surprise, considering that Apple discontinued Safari for the Windows operating system, which is the predominant OS. Also, most people seem to prefer to use other browsers. The standard update period for Safari is 54 days. A lot less vulnerabilities are found in this browser compared to other popular ones, thus the update time makes sense.

Apple, being a strong supporter for privacy and security, has added extensions like 1Password and DuckDuckGo to the latest edition of Safari. The browser continues to have a private browsing mode, protection from harmful sites including sandboxing, and third-party cookie blocking as before.

  • 3.45% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated every 54 days
  • Security and other specifics: In-built protection from harmful sites
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability: New extensions such as “DuckDuckGo” and “1Password”

Opera

The Opera browser is with a 1.22% market share, and although not widely used, it makes for a very highly customizable security browser application. A free built-in VPN will make your browsing experience safer. The extensions gallery is more diverse than ever, while offering HTTPS Everywhere, Disconnect, Avira Browser Safety and a multitude of AdBlockers, including one for Facebook.

Updates come every 48 days as before, but this browser is not the target of many attacks, so that is a good balance. Opera now offers fraud and malware protection and even blocks insecure content like scripts and plug-ins, even if they are run on a trusted web page. All of the above make great points to consider Opera as a secure browsing solution.

  • 1.22% Market Share
  • Updates frequency: Updated every 48 days
  • Security and other specifics: Free in-built VPN, online fraud and malware protection,
    Insecure script and plug-in blocking
  • Add-ons related to security and their availability: Extensions that add features of other browsers based on security

Other Browsers: Honorable Mentions

The rest of the browsers used in the world hold a total of 0.40% market shares. The following browsers are honorable mentions, which deserve a place in the article.


Comodo Dragon

Comodo Group, Inc. which is a leader in cyber security solutions, and a famous issuer of SSL certificates is also the developer of two browsers based on security. One of them is the “Comodo Dragon” which is a fork of Google Chrome and the other – “Comodo IceDragon” that is a fork of Mozilla Firefox. Being formed from popular browsers, the Comodo Dragons follow the update schedules for the corresponding browsers they are based on. Although their interface is an exact copy of the original, their security features are not.

Comodo Dragon performs extra checks on a site’s SSL digital certificates, has an on-demand site inspector that checks for malicious activity and even blocks features that are in-built in Chrome, such as Google’s user tracking, PDF viewer and Adobe’s Flash Player, automatic address bar search suggestions, Google Safe browsing etc. Unfortunately, Comodo does tracking of its own, so it is not 100% private.


Epic Privacy Browser

Epic, known by its other name “Epic Privacy Browser” is focused entirely on privacy. Due to the browser being based on Chromium, its updates are delivered within that 15-day time frame just like Google Chrome. The aim for Epic browser is to limit extensions to the maximum, because of their tracking capabilities.

Epic browser, with its inherent blocking features, claims that you will not be tracked even by your government and you will not see any advertisements no matter on what website you are on. Those features are the removal of DNS and Web cache, blocking URL check or URL tracking, disabling error reporting and the RLZ-Tracking number. No suggestions and no auto-filling options are available either. The most notable of all options you get with the Epic browser is its one-click encrypted proxy, which will give you real anonymity online.


Avira Scout

Avira Scout is running strong, keeping its update schedule around the 15-day mark, since it is based on Chromium. Since the past year, the browser is out of its beta testing period and already has support for more extensions, tools, plugins etc. As its implementation of the database for Avira Anti-Virus, the browser is presented to offer a more updated protection against all kinds of online threats.

HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger are inside the browser’s code, but not enabled by default. A selection of different ad-blockers is available and can be added, as well. The browser continues its pursuit to block the tracking features of websites and social networks like Facebook.

The statistics for market shares used in this article have been taken from Net Applications.


In Conclusion: The Most Secure Browser for 2017

As a conclusion, Google has reminded the world that no browser is truly secure unless you stop its JavaScript service, which is the trending source for malware delivery these days. Not to mention that the Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader plugins also have similar vulnerabilities and should be stopped as well.

An important thing to consider is that not every browser updates automatically, and that you should always update the browser applications that you are using – you can do a check from the following website.

We cannot say exactly which browser is the most secure for 2017, but we would definitely recommend Chrome or one that is based on the Chromium project, especially for users that are not tech-savvy. Google also hosts a Vulnerability Rewards Program which encourages independent researchers to report bugs.

Berta Bilbao

Berta is the Editor-in-Chief of SensorsTechForum. She is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space.

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