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Browser Security

Mark Edwards

Although we have all heard about viruses and know there are risks in using the Internet, too many people are still using unpatched or insecure browser software.

Scanit, a Belgium based security firm, offer a free test service on their website that will check your browser against a list of known vulnerabilities. After running the tests on your browser you will get a listing of your vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are rated high, medium and low risk.

If your browser passes all tests you will receive a rating of "no risk".

Scanit collect statistics on the tests run on their site which make for interesting reading. On my recent visit they had completed 555,557 tests. Of those, a staggering 185,279 tests showed up high risk vulnerabilities in the tested browser. This means about 1 in 3 people are using browser software that leaves them highly vulnerable to hackers whilst using the Internet.

These sorts of numbers explain why so many personal computers are being turned into zombies under the control of their hacker masters.

My advice is don't join their ranks.

o Check your browser and patch it or replace it as required.

o Don't wait for articles like this to alert you of a problem.

o If this test shows a vulnerability then you need to do something to ensure that you are not going to be in this situation in future.

o Get external help if you can't manage software patches yourself.

So how did I fare? I use the Firefox browser and my result was "no risk".

Link to the test: bcheck.scanit.be/bcheck/index.php

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