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Experts are taking issue to a recent study which warned users of potential risk of using Firefox

A recent security study from Bit9 argued that Mozilla's Firefox was the most vulnerable application and thus a major threat to businesses.  One of the chief reasons it gave was the lack of a large-network patching system.  For this reason, despite recent security flaws, it did not consider Microsoft's Internet Explorer software, as it assumed that such a patching system dramatically lowered vulnerability.

Bit9 went as far as to suggest that enterprises block their employees from having access to Firefox and delete it from work computers.

Some firms, including Mozilla, were quick to take issue with Bit9's alarming comments.  Representatives from Mozilla's security branch, Human Shield contacted DailyTech with remarks on the topic.  The company's Johnathan Nightingale states, "While we're always happy to see stories that focus on educating our users about security, there are some problems with Bit9's methodology that hinder its ability to draw any meaningful conclusions."

According to Mr. Nightingale, by raising the "risk" of companies which disclose critical vulnerabilities, Bit9's study punishes openness, a critical key to security.  It rewards companies that keep their vulnerabilities secret, he argues.

He also criticizes Bit9's stance on patching, stating that the firm's claims fall short of reality.  He states, "Bit9 seems to understand (the need for smarter metrics) in its focus on application support for updates, but again it fails to account for the real world experience. Firefox does not deliver WSUS updates, but our built-in update mechanism requires no user intervention, and we consistently see 90% adoption within six days of a new update being released."

He concludes, "The Firefox vulnerabilities Bit9 discusses are long-since fixed, with the majority of these fixes coming within days of it being announced. That is the real measure of application security: are known vulnerabilities fixed promptly, tested carefully, and deployed thoroughly? Bug counting is unfortunately common because it's easy, but it should not be a substitute for real security measurement."

Similar sentiments were also echoed by various readers on DailyTech as well as several sources in the security business.  While the Bit9 study certainly takes a controversial and interesting position, according to many its claims are overly broad and flawed.  Whether this is the case is largely a matter of opinion, but one thing's for sure -- whether you're on Firefox, Opera, Chrome, or Internet Explorer, security is largely in the hands of the user.

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RE: Yeah, as the IE exploit raged wild for a few days ...
By on 12/18/2008 9:16:51 AM , Rating: -1

Firefox loading time takes the whole 10 seconds after clicking on its icon.


The worst thing about Firefox is that "windows 95 gold edition from 1994" support is dropped and PC-DOS support is not even started yet.

By gmyx on 12/18/2008 9:55:32 AM , Rating: 3
I feel like feeding the trolls ;)

So... do you want dos 1.0 support as well?
Or maybe the old IBM Mainframe should be supported... Or an abacus (I've seen it referred to as an ancient computer)...

Nah... FF should drop support for all stupid people and just support running on smart, intelligent people's brains.

Ok... that was fun... back to reality.

By GlennAl on 12/18/2008 12:48:09 PM , Rating: 3
Well, as Big Al said, "Eat it... eat it...".

It's kind of pointless to reference non-GUI systems like DOS and MVS (of course, all new IBM "mainframes" run Unix as well as MVS, so it's hardly relevant to mention them at all, plus mainframes are all about processing data--not about providing browser support... you might as well take a tractor-trailer to Indianapolis or Sebring). The real point is that Bit9 is, well, kind of stupid.

By omnicronx on 12/18/2008 1:11:29 PM , Rating: 1
It took me a few seconds to figure out if he was joking.. then I looked at the poster and everything made sense..

PCDOS never supported IE.. Netscape.. or any other mainstream browser..

The best it has to offer is Arachne

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