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Event 5: Keep Users Safe from Villains on the Web

Contestant, please demonstrate that you provide a secure user experience for the web surfer. Don't let access to the web wreck the user's computer or deliver private information to intruders.

Event 1 Results

Competitor

Score

Mozilla

0.99

Opera

0.99

KHTML

0.99

Internet Explorer

0.99


This event is very difficult to judge. The problem is that if a security issue becomes evident, most browser vendors are very quick to fix their engines. So all the engines appear secure nearly all the time—even if they're not. Furthermore, if no security problems were ever identified with an engine, you'd have to start wondering whether anyone has even bothered to check it. That's an uneasy feeling. Popularity is also a problem—if you're popular, then older, more insecure versions of your engine are likely to be hanging around everywhere, still full of holes. That's bad for your reputation. Because all the engines' latest versions are up to date, perhaps all should score 1. But there's an odd problem or two with the web that engines can't do much about, such as social engineering attacks (jargon for web pages whose content contains old-fashioned lies). Browser engines can't fix that.

Olympic scoring aside, CERT, the U.S. federal security body, records past security problems with our four contestants, as shown in the following table.

Competitor

Vulnerability Notes Recorded by CERT (Search)

Mozilla

4

Opera

1

KHTML (plus Safari)

3

Internet Explorer

60


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