If you are reading this post chances are good that you are doing so with a Web browser. And if you are like most people, you use that very same Web browser to bank, shop, book airline tickets, find directions, read news, keep up with friends and family, and so on. These online activities are extremely important to everyday life and the reason why the Web browser you choose may be the single most important [online] security decision you make. If you are using anything except the one latest browsers, you are putting your computer at risk, and by extension the most intimate details of your life, to viruses and the criminals who author them.
Microsoft understands this better than most, and is launching a program encouraging people to upgrade their Web browser and protect themselves. The next important thing to understand is not all Web browsers are created equal and how safe they keep you online is difficult to compare, even for the experts. For consumers making a good Web browser choice can be even more daunting, even after becoming aware at just how exposed they may be on an outdated platform. To address this predicament, Microsoft is releasing a scoring methodology to assist people in selecting a Web browser that’s right for them.
Microsoft’s approach to this problem is interesting and novel. The score hinges on the presence of browser security features, comparing everything from URL filters to additional security functionality that web application developers can enable. Such a methodology is useful because it allows people to distinguish between Web browsers by which security features are available and most important to them. Packaging up the enhancements into an easy-to-understand score also helps demonstrate why upgrading makes sense — if nothing else it becomes obvious that newer browsers have better security features.
This effort by Microsoft’s is a huge step in the right direction and will serve to help make the Web just that much safer for everyone. For those curious, head over to YourBrowserMatters.org and see how the Web browser you are currently using scores.