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Mozilla slams Microsoft after browser testing tool rates Firefox poor on security

14 Oct 2011
Mozilla Firefox logo

Browser maker Mozilla has hit back at Microsoft after a new tool released by the computing giant earlier this week rated the latest version of its popular Firefox browser less secure than Internet Explorer 9. uses data from Microsoft's Security Intelligence Report and organisations such as the Anti-Phishing League and Online Trust Alliance in order to provide a score out of four to show how secure the user's browser is.

It awarded Internet Explorer 9 top marks with a score of four out of four. IE8 gets a three, while IE7 gets a one. However, the latest version of Google Chrome gets a score of just 2.5, while Firefox 7 was given a score of just two, despite being barely a month old.

Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's director of Firefox engineering, responded with a heated statement, arguing that Mozilla is "fiercely proud" of its "long track record of leadership on security".

"We believe that being safe on the web means having a robust browser that defends against malware and phishing, includes new technologies to help sites and users secure themselves, and a responsive security team that gets security updates out quickly and reliably," he added.

"Microsoft's site is more notable for the things it fails to include: security technologies such as HSTS, privacy tools such as Do Not Track, and vendor response time when vulnerabilities are discovered."

Unsurprisingly, Mozilla, along with Google, supports the HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) secure browsing standard, as well as the Do Not Track privacy initiative.

Do Not Track has yet to be ratified into an official web standard, however. At RSA Conference Europe on Thursday, web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee encouraged security professionals to engage with standards body the W3C in order to add their input to the body's Do Not Track working group.

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Phil Muncaster

Phil Muncaster is news editor at, a role he has fulfilled since January 2010. Previously he was chief reporter for IT Week, having also worked as a reporter and senior reporter on the publication from 2005.

Before IT Week, Phil worked as a researcher for the Rough Guide. Prior to his work in journalism, Phil spent three years teaching English in Japan.



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