You take your web browser with you wherever you go on the web. Amongst other things, it knows what you see and when; it tags along when you visit your friends on social media; goes with you to the bank; helps you book your holidays; and aids and abets you in pursuing your internet vices.
But how much do you trust it?
It’s a question we like to ask our readers from time to time because when it comes to browsers, trust is important and it’s… well, it’s complicated.
We put a tremendous amount of trust in browsers simply by using them. We trust them to protect us from exploits, drive-by malware and phishing. Many of us also trust third party browser plugins to protect us from ads, trackers and malicious scripts (while trusting the browser to protect us from rogue third party plugins with their own ads, trackers and malicious scripts).
The trouble is, the only companies that can afford to produce such complicated and costly software, for free, are the ones we seem to trust the least.
Judging by comments left on Naked Security, many of you think that Google doesn’t live up to “don’t be evil”; Microsoft will never recover from the 1990s; Mozilla has sold out to Google’s ad money; Apple’s sheen is wearing off; and Tor can’t escape its military roots
The feature set we expect from web browsers is largely settled and so, for the last decade or more, they’ve competed with each other based on speed, privacy and security.
Since our last poll ad handling has been added to the list, as responsibility for what to do about online ads starts to migrate from third plugins into the browsers themselves.
Brave, an entirely new browser, is built around the idea that if it can effectively filter out bad ads, we won’t mind seeing good ones. Unsurprisingly Google Chrome, a browser built by an advertising company, is backing the same filter-don’t-block approach. Meanwhile, Firefox has announced plans to block the tracking that targeted ads rely on by default.
The threat of malicious plugins has loomed large in the last couple of years too. Both Firefox and Chrome have had to withdraw malicious plugins from their stores, while Chrome will soon make it impossible to get ad-ons from outside of the Web Store.
Let’s talk about trust
This is neither a scientific poll nor an attempt to objectively measure browser security. This about how you feel, and who and what you are willing to trust. The poll is here to gauge the temperature and provoke discussion about our attitudes to the software we rely on and the companies that make it.
So, while our poll asks, simply, “Which browser do you trust the most?” we would love to know more about what you think after you’ve voted, so please leave a comment too.
(If the embedded poll doesn’t appear, you can view it on the Poll Daddy website)