security add-ons

The best Internet Explorer security add-ons

Big things are brewing in the browser industry, which is good news for all Web denizens, regardless of your browser preference. At the same time, your current browser can probably be made safer through the proper application of the right security add-ons.

Top browsers in a state of continuous enhancement Google's Chrome browser continues to garner much of the attention of the computer press two years after its release--and for good reason. Frequent, automatic updates and a clutter-free interface are two of the many features that set Chrome apart from the competition, as Stephen Shankland describes in his DeepTech blog.… Read more

Essential Firefox security add-ons

There's no way to reduce to zero your risk of picking up some piece of malware while browsing. You need layers of security to keep viruses, Trojans, and botnets at bay—the more layers, the safer your browsing. (Of course, the more layers, the slower your browsing, too, so don't get carried away.)

Much emphasis has been placed on the enhanced security features of the latest versions of the popular browsers. Whether one is any safer than another is anybody's guess, but no browser gives you more ways to thwart a Web-based attack than Firefox via its … Read more

IE, Firefox, and the add-on security problem

Microsoft blames add-ons for its Internet Explorer security woes, according to InternetNews, yet in separate news from TechCrunch Mozilla's Firefox just hit its one billionth add-on and yet delivers better security, according to several studies.

Is Microsoft out of line?

Probably not. Microsoft is almost certainly right to pin some blame on add-on functionality to the browser as a security vulnerability. But given that add-ons are a fact of life now, what is Microsoft doing to protect its IE users against malware attacks?

Plenty, and in perhaps in the most important place: the update service. Both IE and Firefox include automatic update services, but researchers for the Honeypot Project discovered that Firefox's mechanism may actually be more effective:

We suspect that attacking Firefox is a more difficult task as it uses an automated and "immediate" update mechanism. Since Firefox is a standalone application that is not as integrated with the operating system as Internet Explorer, we suspect that users are more likely to have this update mechanism turned on. Firefox is truly a moving target. The success of an attack on a user of Internet Explorer 6 SP2 is likely to be higher than on a Firefox user, and therefore attackers target Internet Explorer 6 SP2.

The Honeypot research was done in 2007, however, on older versions of both IE and Firefox and, as Sean Michael Kerner writes in InternetNews, the game may have moved on, and neither Firefox nor IE may be fully ready to "play":… Read more

Get the low-down on the sites you visit with CallingID

I used to think the last thing I needed was another browser toolbar. But now I gladly sacrifice a little screen real estate to find out who owns the sites I visit, where they're located, and whether they pass muster with the security checkers.

That's what you get with CallingID, an add-on for Internet Explorer and Firefox that adds a multi-hued toolbar to the browsers. Along with use of green, yellow, and red to signify the site's safety, the toolbar shows the owner and location of the site.

Whenever you attempt to enter a name and password … Read more