Feeds

Safari, Opera browsers patch-shy, says study

Chrome, Firefox users plug more often

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Users of Safari and Opera are much more likely to run insecure versions of those browsers because it's harder to keep up with updates, a new study has concluded.

The report, prepared by researchers at Google Switzerland and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, analyzed data pulled from anonymized Google logs. It showed that only 24 percent of Opera users were browsing with the latest version three weeks after a new release. Apple's Safari fared slightly better, with 53 percent of users on a 3.x version of Safari having applied a new update within 21 days.

"All in all, the poor update effectiveness of Apple Safari and Opera gives attackers plenty of time to use known exploits to attack users of outdated browsers," the report's authors, Thomas Duebendorfer and Stefan Frei, wrote.

By contrast, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox did much better, with 97 percent and 85 percent of users running the most current browser respectively. Microsoft's Internet Explorer was excluded from the comparison because its user-agent string doesn't reveal incremental versions numbers.

The authors concluded that the differences were largely the result of the way the browsers go about offering updates. Both Chrome and Firefox offer autoupdates that go largely unnoticed by users. In the case of Chrome, the browser automatically checks for new versions every five hours. When one is detected, it is downloaded and installed the next time the user restarts the browser. Firefox checks for updates each time the browser is started, and when one is found, the user is asked to reboot the program.

Apple and Opera don't make things as easy, the authors say. Those running a 3.2 version of Safari on a Mac must apply a Tiger or Leopard operating system update first before getting browser updates, which slows the overall patch process. Opera checks for updates only once a week, and users have to go through a fresh installation each time one is found.

The report is available here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.