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I don’t want to repeat what others have already wrote about the release of Firefox 8 today! I just want to emphasize that Firefox 8 is safer for users, but will be a pain for some application developers. I’m not sure if that even sounds about right, because some web developers might not care. Nonetheless, it’s good to know that users don’t have to worry how certain third party software they install onto their computers might automatically install toolbars and extra Firefox extensions without the knowledge of the users, because Firefox 8 will notify the users if they want to allow third party software’s extensions or toolbars to be added to their Firefox browser or not.
Mac OS X Lion’s users might be disappointed with Firefox 8 in one aspect. It is that Firefox 8 isn’t yet added an easy button to allow full screen mode. Unlike Firefox 8, Google’s Chrome 15 has visibly displayed two slant arrow heads button (i.e., one arrow head slants up and the other slants down) at the uppermost right corner so when users hit on it, Google’s Chrome will go into full screen mode instantly. Of course, users can go into full screen mode with Firefox 8 on Mac OS X Lion by go to View > Enter Full Screen or using shortcut keys, but somehow it seems these methods are somewhat cumbersome. In case non-mac users have no idea, full screen mode isn’t a big deal to Windows at the moment, but this feature is a big deal for Mac OS X Lion.
In case you have missed the news, Google has released newer version of its Chrome browser to 13.0.782.215 which addresses 11 security vulnerabilities. Some Mac users might not be able to upgrade since an unknown bug which prevents users from update Chrome and complains that users don’t have sufficient permission to do so. Don’t sweat, just drag the old Chrome app/folder in application folder to Trash. Become root and change the permission of Chrome app/folder inside Trash to the specific user that you want to use to trash the Chrome folder/app. Use that very user to trash the Chrome folder/app inside Trash. Now, you can install newer version of Chrome onto your Mac. Windows users should not have any problem in upgrading to newer Chrome version. You can check out MSNBC article “Google updates Chrome, fixes 11 flaws” to read on what sort of security flaws that the previous Chrome version had.
I’m happy to know that Google Chrome newest stable version yet which is Chrome 12 can now automatically scan for malicious downloads. According to USAToday, Chrome 12 boasts that it will not need to know the malicious web destinations ahead of time, and yet it will be able to detect malicious downloads. So, it sounds Chrome 12 is super safe! Still, some hackers out there may eventually know how to circumvent Google Chrome’s newest yet battle strategy. For now though, don’t we love nothing more than a browser such as Chrome to exhibit such amazing security feature? I think so, because with Chrome 12 we may feel surfing the web and downloading data somewhat safer than what not.
If one day the browsers can replace all security software, that will be the day that I’m truly happy! No longer anybody needs to download a bunch of security software to hog evermore computer’s resources. No longer anybody needs to buy even more security software just to know later they still can be hacked as usual. It will be a death knell for many security software if light weight browsers can be configured to prevent computer viruses and malware. Firewall? Sure, a browser can become a user interface for IPTables for Linux users. Imagine that eh? How about such a browser can also configure Windows’ firewall with preset safest firewall settings? Don’t worry, such browsers will allow users to modify security rules of Windows’ firewall down to the tiniest detail so whatever specifications and needs will be met.
You see, Chrome is heading in the direction that I have to say, “I’m loving it!” You see, it doesn’t matter if a computer has installed the best security software. When a user downloads something destructive, the security software has only one chance of identifying such malicious download; we know more than often, many security software tend to miss the mark completely, especially with those zero-day exploits. The truth is that no antivirus software can boast for sure that they will catch 100% of all virus types out there in the wild. As Internet connection gets faster, the needs for downloads will increase many more folds. It’s obvious that we will get infect by virus easily if we are not evermore vigilant about our downloading behaviors. So, in the end I don’t see that many differences between a browser with capability of detecting computer viruses versus an antivirus software. The big difference is that a browser may likely be free of charge, but most antivirus software come with decent price tags.
Chrome 12 has other new features too, but I let you read them at USAToday’s “Google Chrome 12 is now stable release.” You don’t have to wait for Google to push the update to your browser automatically, because now you can venture directly to Google Chrome’s website and download the newest stable version. Don’t forget to install it after you download it, eh? I think by installing the latest version, the older version will be overwritten automatically. Just make sure you actually quit Chrome before the installation of the newest yet stable version of Chrome begins.
I could be blowing on something with hot air here, but I think often times well known security suites may not really all that comprehensive when it comes down to protecting your privacy as you surf the web. Many advertisers are able to track you and retain all types of information about you according to your web footprint. Lately, according to an article on Yahoo/AP, even the government is complaining how advertisers are able to collect too much data of online users. Google who’s developed and maintained of Chrome browser and Mozilla who’s developed and maintained Firefox and Microsoft who’s developed and maintained IE are promising that they will soon roll out tools to protect users’ privacy better. Nonetheless, even though these tools will be standard feature on their browsers, I surmise you may have to turn them on manually.
Speaking of better privacy while surfing the web, when using Firefox you’ve a plethora of extensions that may already have done the things that Google and Mozilla and Microsoft are now trying to do. For an example, you can add Ghostery, Noscript, WOT, and BrowserMasquerade extensions onto Firefox to pretty much thwart online advertisers.
Turning on Ghostery extension itself may not do much unless you go into its options and configure so it can block even more aggressive advertisers. Using Ghostery, you can also manually adding individual well known or not so well known advertiser to the block list. Noscript allows you to basically block many web scripts, and to the best of my knowledge many online advertisers use some types of scripts to track your online presence. WOT is one of those unique extension that can prevent you from visiting malicious websites. Browser Masquerade helps you confuse the website owners and web servers, because even online advertisers have to use some types of servers to store data about your online presence — this extension somewhat may help in this regard.