update-browserImportance of Internet Browser Updates

Internet Browsers are the windows through which your computer can see and interact with outside world. It is highly important to protect it with a shield, which can safeguard your security from the dangers of outside world. And browser updates are like enhancing the effectiveness of these protective shields.

Running the latest updated Internet browser is the single most important step you can take towards ensuring your security on the web. I have seen many people not taking any pain for updating their browsers. They think it as the waste of their time.

Please DO NOT overlook it. No other task is as important as updating your browser. Yes, believe it.

The mechanism of Browser Update

There are hundreds of Internet Browsers used by people depending upon their choices, requirements and preferences. But the most common are only 4-5 like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome. Each of them uses a different mechanism for the update. But the effectiveness of the mechanism depends upon how less the user is involved in the process of update.

chromeHow Google Chrome Updates itself: And the winner is Google Chrome, because of its unique update component code-named Omaha, which keeps polling for updates even when Google Chrome is not running. Once a new update is found to be available on the server, the client automatically downloads and installs it in the background without prompting the user.

The new version of Google Chrome gets applied at the next restart of the browser. The user is not even prompted to restart the browser after a new update was ready. Given that the whole update process happens without any user interruption, Google Chrome is said to have a “silent update” mechanism. As of April 2009, the user could not disable update checks. A manual update can be initiated by choosing “About Google Chrome” in Google Chrome’s settings menu.

firefoxHow Mozilla Firefox Updates itself: Web browser checks for updates periodically in a frequent schedule while the browser is running. The user can also check for updates manually with the menu command “Help” – “Check for Updates …”. When and how often Mozilla Firefox checks for updates can be set by typing “about:config” in the address bar.

safariHow Apple Safari Updates itself: It is updated through Apple’s “Software Update” service integrated in OS X, which also takes care of other system and application updates. The user can choose to check for updates daily, weekly, monthly or not at all. When updates are available, the user is prompted to initiate the downloads and get them installed.

operaHow Opera Updates itself: Opera Web browser, by default, checks for updates every week and notifies the user when a new update is available. A user choosing to update his browser is then forwarded to the Opera download Web site, where the update follows the same procedure as if the user were to install Opera for the first time. This update procedure requires serious user activity.

ieHow Microsoft Internet Explorer updates itself: IE Web browser gets updated through the Automatic Updates service integrated in the Windows operating system.

TechZoom has published a study on all these features and Why Silent Updates Boost Security. A nice read.