According to Opera, most US adult users are not aware that their web browser choice affects their security. They base this conclusion on a survey of 2,835 US users. They found that only 51% of adult users were aware that their choice of web browser can affect their security online. Not surprising really, I’d imagine that those 51% are happily using the Internet Explorer that came with Windows and probably are not even aware that there are less targeted and more secure browsers available. I’d likewise expect that if that same survey was performed in Europe the clueless figure would be much lower as alternative browsers are much more popular over there. It would have been interesting to see a test for Spyware and Viruses on those user’s computers as well, though from my own experience with clients I can already guess the result, having seen it hundreds of times myself.
Believe it or not, I didn’t arrive at my Firefox recommendation lightly. I was a long time Internet Explorer user (version 3 up till about version 5.5) when on Windows and I had a hard time changing to Firefox myself. After about 2 months of forcing myself to use it, I realised that I couldn’t live without some of Firefox’s features any more. (Like tabbed browsing for one example.) The reason I’ve installed it on all my clients machine wasn’t out of any sort of zealotry, but rather because I was sick of fixing the same PC Virus and Spyware infestations month after month after month. It pays well but it’s incredibly tedious work and it made me feel like I was ripping off my clients. Not only that but when my client’s computers are constantly running slowly or unstably, (as they often do when infested with Spyware and/or Viruses) it makes me and my services look bad. I went looking for a free solution (free because I was replacing a program they got with Windows, which to them means it was a freebie) to recommend to them and found Firefox (back when it was an early beta release) I installed it, learned its ins and outs and slowly fell in love with it. That wasn’t the final test though, I did regular Spyware and Virus and stability tests on the half a dozen PC’s that I use for testing things I plan to recommend to clients and discovered an amazing thing. When Firefox was used as the only browser, the Spyware found dropped dramatically. Most of the time no spyware was found at all. Considering the number of IE only PC’s I’ve found with literally hundreds of spyware items installed, dropping to zero or near zero was pretty amazing to me at the time. People can defend IE all they like, as far as I am concerned, the results speak for themselves. When my clients are using Firefox I don’t have to deal with Spyware. Simple as that. They are happier, and that makes me look good, Case closed.