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Did Google Target Mozilla Through a Paid Security Report?

NSS Labs, a provider of quarterly browser security reports, thinks so, as it states that the report was heavily skewed in Google's favor.

According to NSS, Google has taken unreasonable influence on the methodology of browser security testing, favored Google features over features in other browsers, did not showcase diligence in testing, and withheld important information in its blacklisting feed to discredit Firefox' ability to block malware.

NSS Labs criticizes the nature of this sponsored report, even if it was accused itself not too long ago to have taken funding from Microsoft for its reports, which usually present IE in a much better light than any other browser and typically focus on social malware exploits. Funded and commissioned studies always carry the inherent danger that a report could be skewed in on direction, which is, in fact, a reasonable assumption. Such studies are frequently funded to not only provide research data, but become marketing material.

Google engaged in a behavior that is common in the industry and some could claim that a focus on testing methodology may simply be a question of philosophy which features may be important and which not. In individual cases, this may be largely irrelevant. Even if you use the most secure browser, irresponsible behavior on the Internet can open doors to successful malicious attacks. However, if Google asked Accuvant to deliberately disable security features in Firefox (and other browsers), there is a clear problem and NSS has every right to spotlight Google's ugly strategy.

NSS noted that it analyzed Accuvant's study on request of some of its customers. I will leave it up to you to speculate which customers may have asked for that (unpaid?) favor.

  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Should Mozilla be upset over recent findings by a Google-funded browser security analysis and the fact that Chrome is the most secure browser available right now?

    No. Mozilla's target auditory is different from Chrome's. Keep enjoying your retarded streamlined interface, Chrome users... not saying it's a bad browser, but I loathe that interface; FF gets things done while in Chrome I keep cursing around looking under the dropdown menu for the item I need instead of using the traditional File/Edit/Tools/etc. which everybody is trying to rip away from us nowadays; hell, even Win7 tried!
    Reply
  • enforcer22
    amk-aka-PhantomNo. Mozilla's target auditory is different from Chrome's. Keep enjoying your retarded streamlined interface, Chrome users... not saying it's a bad browser, but I loathe that interface; FF gets things done while in Chrome I keep cursing around looking under the dropdown menu for the item I need instead of using the traditional File/Edit/Tools/etc. which everybody is trying to rip away from us nowadays; hell, even Win7 tried!

    didnt even know anyone still used that bar.. its been welll ages since i have used anything but the url bar in a browser.
    Reply
  • synd
    SpyEasyChrome is the safest browsers, we people paid by Google tell you that so there's no reason not to believe us.
    Okay, np, np
    Reply
  • mrmaia
    Not really a surprise for me. If embedding its browser in pretty much every software out there and flooding Google search results wasn't enough. I think Chrome is an adware and Google's way of distributing its browser is far, FAR worse than that of Microsoft.

    That's why I stick with Firefox. Mozilla does not try to force FF down our throats, and the browser is really good. I definitely don't want adware in my computer, thats why Chrome will stay out of my hard drive.
    Reply
  • shin0bi272
    Isnt Google's mantra "dont be evil" ? It seems that they might be failing at that.
    Reply
  • billybobser
    I think the browser is less to blame than the user.

    Adblock + noscript means I'm pretty set.

    Still I am going off firefox a bit with the release schedule, numbering and the direction of the UI.

    Some ui bits look handy, however hiding the menus is pretty dumb. Browsers should have the ability to be modified (EASILY) by the user to create their own UI.
    Instead of having everything but the url bar hidden. The type of users who only use that are probably going on farmville.
    Reply
  • madooo12
    long live opera
    Reply
  • In my experience as a computer tech, I have noticed a predominance of Mozilla users coming in for virus issues--particularly of the fake antivirus variety. But is that because of any inherent flaw in Firefox, or is it because Firefox's "trendy" status attracts more casual (and less security-savvy) users? Safer browsing is always the best protection...
    Reply
  • acerace
    In my experience as a computer tech, I have noticed a predominance of Mozilla users coming in for virus issues--particularly of the fake antivirus variety. But is that because of any inherent flaw in Firefox, or is it because Firefox's "trendy" status attracts more casual (and less security-savvy) users? Safer browsing is always the best protection...

    Don't say anything bad about Firefox. The members don't like it.
    Reply
  • elbert
    Google's chrome is new and unlike Firefox hasn't been around long enough to call on a lot of hackers. Give hackers a little time chrome and your day is coming. This said wasn't Google's email hack huge. ;)
    Reply