Next Target: Mozilla?

Motley Fool – Next Target: Mozilla?

Judging by some of today’s headlines, it’s tempting to think no Internet browser is safe. Mozilla, which offers a product suite that includes the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird email program, reported a security flaw yesterday, although within 24 hours, it had issued a patch to plug the hole. Bear in mind, no attack was launched; expecting any browser to lack security holes may be too much to ask.

Mozilla’s been one of the Web browsers of choice after the public heard about the most recent browser security scare. That was when the U.S. government’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) suggested that Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Internet Explorer was just too dangerous to use right now.

Some people are taking that advice to heart — quite possibly issuing a wake-up call to Mr. Softy in terms of what many consider its historically nonchalant attitude toward security issues. According to Wired and other news sources, daily downloads of Mozilla’s products have been increasing since last fall, spiking to more than 200,000 downloads the day after the warning. Other browser providers like Opera have also reported increased interest.

Today’s headlines should serve as a reminder that many claim the increasing popularity of any browser will make it an attractive target for Internet villains. However, many technical types defend Mozilla and still fault Microsoft for the security hole; the news on the vulnerability has been kicked around the Fool’s Microsoft discussion board.

If nothing else, having multiple browsers in significant use limits the amount of damage one attack can have.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Thanks to my seeing this post last night, I knew to update my copy of Firefox. Thanks, James.