The re-emergence of the 'browser wars' between Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari is changing the security landscape, say experts.
Competition and the newfound variety have created security advantages and disadvantages as attackers and malware writers adjust their attacks.
F-Secure researcher Sean Sullivan pointed out in a recent blog posting that the bevy of IE alternatives is having unexpected benefits for some would-be exploit victims.
"Many of the malware samples and scams that we currently come across are targeting browser applications," he wrote. "So enhancing browser security and an increase in competitiveness is a good thing."
Jamz Yaneza, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro, shared similar thoughts, noting that traditionally one vulnerability for one application was all a hacker needed to infect the overwhelming majority of users.
"I think this is a good thing," Yaneza told vnunet.com. "Given that Microsoft has 95 per cent of the retail desktop market, having a single browser means having a single exploit point."
But there is also a wave of innovation brought by the competition. The latest versions of Opera and Firefox employ new security tools to detect and warn users when known phishing and malware sites are visited.
The upcoming version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer is said to sport similar capabilities.
With the advantages of a more diverse browser base, however, there comes a new crop of security threats.
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