Browsers War Heated Up With New Releases

The launch of Internet Explorer 8, By Microsoft, with Google's release of a new beta version of Chrome, and the debut of Mozilla's Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox heated up the browsers war this week. Google's and Mozilla's latest browsers make copious use of JavaScript to gain a speed advantage, but that selling point could turn on them. More scripting makes it easier for someone to execute a cross-site scripting attack, one of the more popular ways of hijacking a computer. With IE8, Microsoft takes a different route to speed, which may give it a security edge, for a change.

Security has been the bane of Internet Explorer in the past -- and now, thanks to their penchant for Javascript, it may become the bane of Chrome and Firefox. The perceived fear is that the increased speed of the new browsers that depend on heavier user of JavaScript will only make things easier for hackers.

Although IE8's security promise has already been marred to an extent -- it was hacked the day before its official rollout -- it may escape the potentially serious fallout from using JavaScript. IE8 was cracked at the 10th annual CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Canada, Wednesday by a hacker who identified himself only as "Nils." To be fair, the first browser to go down at the hacking contest at CanSecWest was Apple's Safari.

One of the new features in Internet Explorer 8 is a cross-site scripting filter, which will help protect users and systems, Microsoft says.