All Major Browsers Hacked

Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Safari were all hacked at the Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver this week. Well, it’s not the good news we all wanted to hear, but the Pwn2Own conference is the kind of conference that rewards hackers by revealing their hacks to the public.

And that’s a good thing. In time, developers of Chrome, Firefox, Explorer and Safari can submit fixes to patch their browsers. But, it doesn’t bode well when hackers continually find browser security holes on a yearly basis.

The biggest winner this year is South Korean security researcher and serial browser hacker JungHoon Lee, also known online as lokihardt. His Google Chrome attack earned him the largest payout for a single exploit in the history of the competition.

He earned $75,000 for the Chrome bug, an extra $25,000 for a privilege escalation to SYSTEM and another $10,000 for also hitting the browser’s beta version for a total of $110,000.

Firefox 4 Beta for Android Phones

Mozilla just released Firefox 4 Beta for Android phones. This is awesome news for Firefox admirers. Firefox 4 will be available for download on any Android 2.0 or newer based smart phone and the Nokia N900. From Yahoo/PC World:

The beta versions include a feature called Sync, which synchronizes a user’s tabs, history, bookmarks and passwords between the Firefox browser on a desktop PC and that on the smartphone. The browser also comes with what Mozilla calls the Awesome Screen, which gives the user access to recent browsing history, bookmarks and tabs by tapping on the browser’s address bar. The start screen shows tabs from the last time the user accessed the Internet, tabs from the PC and suggests add-ons to the browser to personalize it.

Firefox for mobile is available for the Nokia N900, or for phones running Android 2.0 or newer. It has been tested on the Nexus One, HTC’s Desire and EVO 4G, and Motorola’s Droid 2. The browser should work on other Android-based smartphones from Motorola and HTC, as well, including the Desire Z (T-Mobile G2), Droid Incredible, Droid X and the Milestone (Verizon Droid), but hasn’t been tested on these devices. The Samsung Galaxy S, and its various different U.S. versions, is also included in the latter group, according to a list of compatible phones on Mozilla’s Website.

To improve speed and responsiveness, the browser runs the user interface in a separate process from the one rendering Web content. The split allows Firefox to react faster to user input while pages are loading, according to Mozilla.

V8 Benchmark Suite Version 5

If you’re like me, you probably have several browsers installed in your favorite desktop whether it’s Windows or Linux. In Windows, I have IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. In Linux, I have Firefox and Chrome. Ever wonder which browser is faster.

There’s one test you can run. It’s developed by Google. It runs Javascript benchmarks. The V8 Benchmark Suite will test your browser and gives out a score at the end. The higher the score the better.

Do the numbers mean anything? All I know is the higher the number, the better. Here’s the V8 Benchmark page explanation.

This page contains a suite of pure JavaScript benchmarks that we have used to tune V8. The final score is computed as the geometric mean of the individual results to make it independent of the running times of the individual benchmarks and of a reference system (score 100). Scores are not comparable across benchmark suite versions and higher scores means better performance: Bigger is better!

So, I ran the benchmark on my Linux desktop. First, I ran it for the Mozilla Firefox 3.5.9 browser. The benchmark resulted with a score of 308. Next is Chrome 5.0.342.9 beta. The benchmark resulted in a score of 4250. Huge difference. Does it mean Chrome 5.0.342.9 beta runs faster in Javascript benchmarks than Firefox 3.5.9?

You can also try the SunSpider Javascript benchmark.

Internet Explorer at 60%

Here’s the latest browser market share according to Net Applications:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer: 60%
  • Mozilla Firefox: 25%
  • Google Chrome: 6.7%
  • Apple Safari: 4.7%
  • Opera: 2.3%

IE still has sizeable command of market, but it’s shrinking rapidly. It could be worse. Microsoft relishes on the fact that IE is included in every Windows OS product. To get Firefox and Chrome, you really have to get out of your way to download and install it. Safari is also standard in every Mac, but it’s also available in Windows.

Linux Browsers

I just searched Google and was amazed by the number of browsers available for Linux. There are at least a couple of dozen browsers actively in development. The most popular browsers are Mozilla’s Firefox, Konqueror, Galeon and Opera. Firefox and Opera have Windows versions available for download. They are free. Gratis!

Continue reading “Linux Browsers”