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Author Topic: Google Chrome Update Scheme Beats Firefox, Safari, Opera  (Read 2183 times)

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georgecloner

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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chrome's automatic, silent update mechanism provides greater security than the update methods used by competing browsers, according to a new study.

The study was conducted by Thomas Duebendorfer of Google Switzerland and Stefan Frei of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), which immediately raises the issue of bias.

However, Google isn't the first technology company to promote its products with statistics, so the involvement of a Google engineer in a study that finds virtue in a Google product shouldn't immediately invalidate the study's findings.

The study examines the update strategies used by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera to keep their browsers patched. Browser updates, of course, figure significantly in browser security. While not every risk is mitigated by browser patches, software vulnerabilities in Web browsers can be significantly reduced by using the most current stable version of a given browser.

With so much malware targeting the browser and Web applications these days, using the most current Web browser has become more important than ever. Yet according to Google, in mid-2008, 45.2% of Internet users visiting Google weren't using the most up-to-date version of their browser.

In the research paper, Duebendorfer and Frei delve into the update mechanisms used by the various browser makers:

    * Google Chrome updates automatically, without asking the user, every five hours.

    * Mozilla Firefox provides several options: once per session, each time it's used, never, and when appropriate/automatically, though it still prompts the user to accept the update.

    * Apple Safari, using Apple's Software Update system, checks for updates daily, weekly, monthly, or not at all, as determined by the user. Apple also has the ability to deliver "important" updates automatically.

    * Opera checks for updates every week and notifies the user when a new update is available. Version 10, however, currently being tested, includes automatic updating.

    * Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer gets updates through the Automatic Updates system in Windows. It includes several updating options: (1) automatic download and install, (2) automatic download, followed by a user prompt to install, (3) automatic notification about updates without downloading and installing them, and (4) disabling automatic. In corporate settings, IT administrators determine these policies.

To evaluate the effectiveness of these policies, the researchers looked at how many people were using the most current version of the various browsers from the date of a new browser release through three weeks later.

Google Chrome came in first, with 97% of people using the most current version after 21 days. Mozilla Firefox placed second, at 85% after 21 days. Apple Safari came in third, with 53% after 21 days. And Opera, with its manual reinstallation requirement, came in last, with 24% after 21 days.

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer wasn't included in the test because it only reports the major version number in the user string sent to Web servers, which prevents the tracking of patches over time.

"The often-stated reason for this omission is to reduce information leakage and make it harder for an attacker to select a working exploit for the actual browser version in use," the researchers observed. "As we have seen drive-by download Web sites trying many different exploits at once, it's unclear how much additional protection this omission really gives."

While some might argue that Duebendorfer's goal in participating in this study is to make a case for using Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Chrome, the researchers also have more altruistic motives. They conclude by encouraging browser makers to adopt Google's silent update mechanism, which has been made available in the form of an open source project called Omaha.

Coincidentally, Google Chrome was updated on Tuesday to address two security vulnerabilities.

(INFO-WEEK)
Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.

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Samker

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Re: Google Chrome Update Scheme Beats Firefox, Safari, Opera
« Reply #1 on: 10. May 2009., 06:02:11 »

Quote
* Google Chrome updates automatically, without asking the user, every five hours.

What ever, I don't like this part...  :down:

georgecloner

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Re: Google Chrome Update Scheme Beats Firefox, Safari, Opera
« Reply #2 on: 10. May 2009., 06:51:07 »
 ;D chill up man... hahaha.

Just like everyone needs... "Sophistication"!  :D
Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.

Samker

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Re: Google Chrome Update Scheme Beats Firefox, Safari, Opera
« Reply #3 on: 10. May 2009., 18:11:09 »
;D chill up man... hahaha.

Just like everyone needs... "Sophistication"!  :D


 ;)

haz

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Re: Google Chrome Update Scheme Beats Firefox, Safari, Opera
« Reply #4 on: 11. May 2009., 07:48:22 »
I dont like the Idea of anything going on "automatically" in my PC without my permission ! and that is one of the points I like about firefox.
Thanks :)

 

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