Is the Google Browser Chrome Really the Safest on Earth?

Vancouver is just all about the games these days; to much fanfare, they had the Winter Olympics last winter; and halfway through the year, they had a great hacking contest for the greatest talent from around the world – the Pwn2Own. And their challenge was – to try the most innovative ways to hack into every major browser on earth. They were not to use any known loopholes in the code in those browsers. They had to discover all-new ones – what are known as Zero-day vulnerabilities. The contest offered cash prizes of $10,000 to anyone who could find vulnerabilities in the major browsers. And the winners also got to carry home the computers that they used to hack into the browsers. No one ever got to know how the two-year-old Google browser, Chrome, did at all.

The Google browser’s reputation is so formidable these great hackers did not even attempt it. As for the other browsers, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox, they offered rich pickings for the hackers. They all failed really quickly. Does this mean that not even the world’s most fearsome hacking talent can get into Chrome? Is it really that unbreakable?

The Google browser Chrome really is very strong as far as security is concerned. However, Chrome has a small market share – less than 10%. It’s the way the Mac OS is always boasting about how the lack of viruses for it is a sign of a very healthy OS design. While the Mac OS is healthy, the fact that no one seems interested in designing a virus for it is more a sign of its lack of market share than of the health of the OS. When these talented hackers come in, they find it more worth their time to break into a major browser. Chrome with such a small market share, hardly does justice to their hard work is the feeling.

But of course, Chrome uses a very superior approach that makes attacking it a completely different ballgame. The Google browser came on the market long after the internet matured. Google was completely aware of the kind of difficulties the Internet can offer to the safety-conscious. For this reason, their unique design involves putting most of Google’s coding in what they call a sandbox. Chrome runs all commands on a virtual machine that has minimal contact with the main hardware of the user. Other browsers can only design safety features that they have experience with. Chrome, with its all-new approach, can stop attacks no one has ever seen before. It’s a design that hackers have little experience with, and they don’t have to work this hard either working on other browsers.

Actually, Internet Explorer is the only other browser out there that does anything similar. But they call it their Protected Mode. And it’s something that you have to turn on; it isn’t on by default. Another difference between Chrome and other browsers is that Chrome uses a simple push-type update system. You don’t have to update the browser; it updates itself. Taking control completely out of your hands, the Google browser is safer any day.

Browsers – Gateway to the Internet – Part 1

Browsers allow you to access the Internet (World Wide Web) from a system with a Net connection. The most popular browsers are

1) Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

2) Mozilla FireFox

3) Netscape Browser

4) Apple’s Safari

Browser Features

Browser features are presented as icons/buttons/ menu items in a toolbar.

Following are the brief explanations of most popular features, which you come across in most of the sophisticated browsers.

a) Address field

Allows you to enter or display the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) for a webpage. An URL represents the unique address for a file located on the internet. An Address field is text box which allows you to enter the text; in this case, an URL or a web address. The text box comes along with a downward facing arrow located next to the field. Clicking the downward pointed arrow, allows you to see the recently visited websites. Again, clicking anyone of these URLs will take you to the respective website.

The process to enter website address in this address field is

1) You can enter the respective website address in the Address Field text box and can press Enter on the Keyboard.

2) In some browsers, a button labeled “Go” next to the Address Field is given; clicking this button initiates a server request once you press it after entering the respective web address.

3) Most of the browsers free you from typing “http://” whenever you type a web address;
they will add “http://” for you when you press return or enter.

b) Autofill Forms Button

Autofill forms button can be looked both as a convenient and also as a dangerous feature.
This feature allows you to add your already type-in data to the targeted fields. But when using Autofill, please be mindful of the information you are providing. It is also advisable to check the information you are providing using Autofill; unless the site to whom you are providing is a trusted site.

c) Back Button

Allows you to go back to the previous page opened in a particular browser window. In some browsers, a downward arrow is provided; clicking this arrow allows you to see the previous pages that you can then choose from

d) Favorites or Bookmarks

You can create a shortcut to your favorite web pages by using the Favorite (or Bookmarks) menu or button. This is a very important feature and it works a little differently in each browser. You can also organize your Favorites menu item to place your bookmark in a folder or particular place in the list. You can either choose Show All or Manage Bookmarks to create folders and/or rearrange your bookmarks.

e) Close Button

Allows you to close the window or tab

f) Minimize Button

Allows you to minimize the window or tab

g) Maximize Button

Allows you to maximize the window or tab

Fonts — Larger or Smaller

Most of the browsers provides Font button; allows you to change the size of the text Larger or Smaller.

h) Multi-Window Browsing

Allows you to browse multiple web pages simultaneously

i) Forward Button

If you are on the current page and want to see previous visited page, you are supposed to click the Back button. Once you are on the previous page, again to come back to current page, you need to click the Forward button.

j) History Button

Allows you to view the earlier viewed pages date-wise, week-wise, and month-wise.

k) Home Button

Whatever URL you mention under the browser preferences or options text box, you can visit that page by clicking Home button.

l) Customized Toolbar

You can add your own frequently used buttons to this toolbar. These toolbars can be shown or hidden also.

m) Menu Bar

This is where you see drop-down menus like File, Edit, View, History, Favorites or Bookmarks and Help.

n) Print Button

Allows you to print the webpage by clicking this button.

o) Refresh or Reload Button

Click Refresh or Reload button to update the webpage you are currently viewing.

p) Restore Button

Allows you to restore the size of the window; this option is helpful if you want to see more than one window at the same time.