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Why Your Browser Matters
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October 11, 2011

When it comes to online security and privacy, the browser plays one of the most important roles in helping to make the internet safe.  Since our inception, OTA has been a proponent of improving browser security and getting people to move to more secure platforms.  Last week in support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we launched Why Your Browser Matters™.  Through this initiative we are working with Microsoft and other business and technical leaders, to equip web sites to engage and educate their site visitors on the importance of upgrading their browser.  (https://otalliance.org/browser).

We strongly feel that more must be done to help educate people and get them to a newer platform are calling on all leading commerce and banking sites to join the effort.

Recently  Microsoft launched a campaign to educate people and get them to migrate to newer browsers through its new site http://www.YourBrowserMatters.org. This site helps to explain why having a modern browser is important. The site is broken down into two parts - one is an education component. For those who’re curious as to exactly why a browser matters, the videos and the interactive components an easy way to learn more. The second part is a security score –which detects your browser and provides a score based on Microsoft's criteria.

While one can debate individual feature scoring and the weighting that Microsoft chose to apply, this site offers an innovative and intuitive approach to inform users on the level of security protection they have and more importantly what they can realize by upgrading.*

While I am not in a position to state that one browser is better than another, I can state that users can not afford to use an outdated browser.  They can no longer take their browser for granted.  For example this tool easily shows Internet Explorer 6 or 7 are lacking security features that are critical in helping to protect user from the onslaught of online threats.

The bottom line is users need to be aware that by using an out of date browser they are leaving the door open for online attacks. While sites and browser vendors may differ in their approach in providing users a "teachable moment" we stand united in the  importance of using a modern browser.

Other industry efforts are listed below:

OnGuard Online - Federal Trade Commission
Stop Think Connect - Department of Homeland Security
Microsoft Safety & Security Center
PayPal - Security & Protection
Norton / Symantec Family Resources
Site Stay Safe Online
What Browser Am I using? - Google
20 Things I learned About Browsers & the Web - Google

 * Note OTA does not endorse the scoring nor did it contribute to the scoring methodology.

Updated 10/11/11

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