Which Is More Secure: Chrome or Firefox?

When it comes to cyber security, the Internet browser you choose can play a significant role. With over 60% of the market share, Google's Chrome browser must be pretty secure, right? But what about other browsers? Firefox is still a cult favorite, and users rely on it to be secure as well. Here is how the two browsers stack up.

Updates

Most software uses patches to update a portion of the code when an issue is found. These issues may be bugs, but they could also be vulnerabilities that would allow a hacker to gain access to your browser and, from there, your computer or even network. Frequent updates mean those holes are secured as soon as they're found.

Google Chrome has a slight leg up when it comes to updates because the browser checks for patch updates every five hours. That might sound too frequent, but imagine the damage that could happen if a hacker exploits a vulnerability and can root around on your system for days, weeks, or even months! As long as you're connected to the Web, you'll have access to the latest patch, which Google puts out every few weeks or so.

Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox, works to ship patches within less than a day. This is important to close up vulnerabilities like the one that was found in Firefox Quantum in early 2018. Firefox users can even track security updates. However, Firefox doesn't check for those updates quite as quickly.

Malicious websites

Some sites may still try to get you to download potentially malicious files sometimes masquerading as a useful file. Occasionally, those downloads may start automatically.

Another form a malicious website may take is that of a phishing attack where the website is intended to look like another site, like that of a government or financial institution. Phishing sites can lead unsuspecting users to enter their login information, which the fake site saves and can be used to log in to the real organization's actual website.

Both Google Chrome and Firefox will warn against malicious websites with Firefox updating lists of malicious sites every 30 minutes. Whenever you're about to visit a potentially malicious website, the browser will alert you and allow you to exit without putting your computer at risk. The browser will still allow you to visit the website if you want to take that risk, but you have to acknowledge that you're entering the site against the browser's recommendation.

Occasionally, a safe website can be marked as dangerous. This could happen after the website is hacked, for instance, and may take time to resolve once the legitimate owners have regained control of their site.

Sandboxing

Finally, both browsers load websites in a container known as a sandbox. This separates the site from your computer and prevents attempts to make changes to your computer, which can even happen without your permission or notice.

Chrome is slightly ahead of the pack with this one because it was among the first Web browsers to use sandboxing, and the developers designed it so that Chrome would use a sandbox for each tab. Chrome's sandboxing method has simply had more time to mature. However, Firefox has used sandboxing since the release of Firefox Quantum and has worked toward improving the security of those sandboxes since then.

Firefox and Chrome offer similar security features; however, the developers at Google have worked longer to implement features such as sandboxing and adheres to a strict update cycle to ensure users are never without protection. Mozilla seems to take a bit longer to provide similar functions. There may also be other considerations that push users to browse in Firefox, so they should implement plugins or security software to close the security gap.

No matter what you prefer, Automox customers can manage the patch and update of both Firefox and Chrome from the cloud-based console. Our tool gives security managers a single view to ensure that users are browsing the web on a secure product.


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